Witness said deadly South Lubbock Co. plane crash seemed ‘like a normal takeoff’

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 11:59 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 3:24 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - An aviation investigation preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday revealed new details about what led up to a deadly plane crash in South Lubbock earlier this month.

26-year-old Tyler Blake Christie, of Lavon, Texas, died when his twin-engine Beech Baron 58P crashed in a field shortly after it departed from Lubbock Executive Airpark on March 17.

Aviation investigators report the plane dropped off several passengers at Lubbock Executive Park before taking off on runway 35. A witness said he saw Christie walk around the airplane while talking on the phone before starting the engine. He said it seemed “like a normal takeoff.”

After the plane lifted off about 20 to 50 above the runway is when the witness heard an “audible change” in engine sound. The witness then looked up and saw the plane in a left bank. DPS says the aircraft caught on fire during the crash and the pilot was unable to exit the plane.

The NTSB report indicates a left engine failure caused the crash. “The left engine was partially attached to to airframe and inverted. The left engine propeller assembly was separated from the engine and was about 18 ft. behind the main wreckage and along the wreckage path,” the report states.

The wreckage was kept for further examination.

Find the full aviation investigation report below:

KCBD’s Shaley Sanders spoke to Freddy, the witness who called in the crash.

Freddy described it as a small plane that barely missed utility lines before spinning and plummeting straight down into a cotton field at 98th & MLK.

“I just saw it go over the wires and it spun, just spun around and went straight into the ground and exploded. There’s nothing left of the plane.”

Freddy asked authorities if he should check on the occupants after the crash, “If they’re alive, and I just saw it blow up, and I didn’t go get close to it. Nobody got out of that plane. There was no way they could get out. It was a little passenger plane. It wasn’t a crop duster. Looked like a little family plane. It was coming east going west and it barely went over those wires — barely missed ‘em and I saw it just spin around. It went into the ground.”

The plume of smoke was visible from the KCBD parking lot at 98th & University.