HALLSVILLE — Bad weather could have been the cause of a weekend plane crash that killed three family members and one of their fellow passengers outside Hallsville, according to Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Sgt. Jean Dark on Monday.
Huffman resident and pilot William Robert Kendrick, 51, and his three passengers — Rebecca Marsh Kendrick, 47, of Huffman, Kaycee Ann Kendrick, 27, of Farmers Branch and Coty Ray Shrum, 25, of Farmers Branch — were all killed about 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the small plane they were flying in reportedly encountered bad weather.
The Cessna plane was carrying the group from Dallas to New Orleans when it crashed 3 miles south of Hallsville on private property in Harrison County late Saturday evening, Dark said.
“The small personal aircraft, a Cessna T337C, was traveling from Dallas to New Orleans when the pilot possibly encountered severe weather,” Dark said Monday. “The aircraft lost altitude and crashed in a wooded area on private property.”
National Weather Service Meteorologist Mario Valverde in Shreveport said Monday that the weather about the time of the crash was mostly overcast skies with some light rain about 7 p.m Saturday in Harrison County.
“At that time, visibility was at least 10 miles. There was some light rain, and there were some gusty winds from the south at about 16 mph with gusts about 28 mph,” Valverde said. “There were overcast skies with the ceiling at about 3,700 feet.”
Within about an hour — from 7 to 7:53 p.m. Saturday — Valverde said the ceiling dropped by more than half and the wind gusts picked up speed.
“By 7:53 p.m. Saturday, we still had visibility at 10 miles, and the wind increased to 22 mph with gusts up to 29 mph,” he said. “The skies remained overcast with light rain, and the ceiling lowered to 1,600 ft.”
All four passengers aboard were pronounced dead by Harrison County Justice of the Peace Nancy George and taken to Meadowbrook Funeral Home in Marshall, Dark said.
The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.
NTSB Chief of Media Relations Christopher O’Neil said Monday the investigation could take up to two years to complete.
“With regard to probable cause, that is not determined until the end of our investigation,” O’Neil said. “General aviation accidents involving fatalities are taking on average from 12 to 24 months to complete.”