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DPS: Plane involved in deadly crash in west Houston had been missing since Wednesday night

The small plane took off from West Houston Airport headed for Pearland when it crashed near I-10 at Highway 6. Both people on board were killed.

HOUSTON — Two people died after a small airplane crashed in a wooded area of west Harris County, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Wreckage from a Piper Cherokee 140 aircraft was located Thursday in a wooded area south of the Barker Dam near the Katy Freeway.

During a DPS news conference Thursday night, we learned the plane took off from the West Houston Airport around 7:30 Wednesday night, heading for Pearland.

The pilot's girlfriend went to the airport Thursday trying to find out what happened.

“The airport went up to look for them. They appeared to find what they thought was debris and local law enforcement was brought out here,” DPS Sgt. Richard Standifer said. 

RELATED: Small plane strikes SUV before crash landing near Highway 59 in Shepherd, DPS says

He said the man was ejected from the plane. The second victim, believed to be a woman, was still in the fuselage and had to be extracted.

“I’m here to tell you the brush is heavy back there, they had to bring in dozers and chainsaws and cut their way through it. So the only way that you’d be able to see that thing is if it caught on fire, and I don’t see any evidence of it catching on fire to me.”

As for the people on board, police found a Houston ID on one of them, but say the plane -- which was recently bought -- was registered out of Rogers, Arkansas. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

A manager at the West Houston Airport nearby told KHOU the aircraft involved had taken off from its facility just before 8 p.m. Wednesday and didn't return.

The airport is approximately two miles north of the crash site.

The aircraft's transponder wasn't working properly, according to the manager, and airport personnel was not aware the plane had gone missing until the girlfriend of one of the victims came to the airport looking for them on Thursday.

The plane was found a short time later, he said.

Piper Cherokee Cruisers typically have four seats and have a maximum weight capacity of 2,150 pounds, according to FAA records.

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