WINNIE, Texas — A preliminary report says a biplane, piloted by a Beaumont man, lost power before striking a power line and crashing on Highway 124 in Winnie Saturday morning.
The report from the FAA states that the crash happened when the Boeing PT-17 Stearman " lost power and struck a power line."
All information is preliminary and subject to change according to the FAA report.
Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane was built in 1942 and is owned by Paul A. Sachitano, of Beaumont.
Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne and others confirmed to 12News that Sachitano was piloting the plane when it crashed just north of the intersection of Highway 124 aznd LeBlanc Road in Winnie.
Sachitano has had his pilot's license since 2010 according to FAA records.
The plane was supposed to be towed back to the airport after being towed in the Texas Rice Festival parade according to the Chambers County Sheriff's Office.
Hawthorne said the crash caused damage to a local business and surrounding cars. The department is still working to find out who authorized the take off.
“We're doing some internal discussions, trying to figure out how that happened, the way it did, and, you know, was somebody neglectful or complicit in facilitating that to happen?” Hawthorne said.
As of now, the Chamber’s County Sheriff department does not expect to file charges. However, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, so Sachitano could still face legal repercussions.
According to the NTSB, another crash report should be available in the next two weeks. The NTSB and FAA will continue to investigate as to how and why the plane crashed.
Sachitano was not injured in the crash, which was captured on video, according to the Chambers County Sheriff's office.
In the video released by the sheriff's office, the plane appears to be taking off from Highway 124 in front of the Market Basket.
The plane becomes airborne just before crossing the intersection at LeBlanc Road and Highway 124.
The plane can be seen clipping a streetlight and then appears to strike cables holding traffic signal lights before crashing onto the median and flipping over just north of the intersection.
The single engine plane had been part of the parade earlier along Highway 124 which was still closed to traffic when the crash occurred.
Taking off from the highway was not recommended by authorities or rice festival officials Hawthorne said.
A photo provided by the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office shows the damage. The photo shows a yellow plane overturned alongside the highway. A witness tells 12News it happened near Market Basket.
“It was towed from the airport to be in the festival parade and then they went to the parade and then in lieu of towing it [back] because it looked like weather was moving in on them, they felt like it would be quicker-- the highway had been shut down for the parade--they felt like it was quicker to fly it, definitely not at the recommendation of the authorities or the festival,” Hawthorne said.
12News tried to reach out to Sachitano for comment, but we have not received a response.
This is a developing story. We will update with more if and when we receive more confirmed information.
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