Cargo plane crashes into bay | Local – The Baytown Sun



A twin-engine Boeing 767 cargo plane crashed into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, leaving a devastating scene of wreckage strewn about the water.

The initial report from the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane contained  three crewmembers. 

Ryan Holzaepfel, Chambers County Fire Marshal, said the crash was not survivable. 

“They haven’t found anyone yet, but judging from the sheer amount of debris and the impact the witness saw, it is doubtful anyone survived,” Holzaepfel said. 

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement saying the plane, operated by Atlas Air Inc., left Miami, Florida at 11:08 a.m. Saturday and was scheduled to land at George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 12:53 p.m. Reports indicate it crashed at 12:45 p.m. 

The FAA issued an Alert Notice when Atlas Air Flight 3591 lost radar and radio contact when it was about 30 miles southeast of the airport. The flight had an Atlas Air number, but it was painted with Amazon colors.

Amazon released a statement about the crash. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy. We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support,” the statement read. 

Holzaepfel said the plane crashed in an area of the bay called Jack’s Pocket.

“It is one mile from the shore, and there is a 1/4 of a mile debris field running east to west,” he said. “It is at the mouth of the Trinity River at the north end of Trinity Bay.”

Holzaepfel said witnesses saw a huge plume of water come up into the sky from the impact.

Holzaepfel said Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne is leading the investigation. Other agencies taking part in the responding effort are the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, Chambers County OEM, Chambers County Fire Marshal’s Office, The Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Baytown Dive Team, Anahuac VFD, Anahuac EMS, Hankamer VFD, and U.S. Coast Guard. 

Holzaepfel added the National Transportation Safety Board was expected to arrive Saturday and will begin an investigation. 

Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Tice, and State Representative Mayes Middleton were on location as well, according to Holzaepfel.

Tice said everyone was pulling together to do what they can in the recovery effort.

“It is a good team effort,” Tice said. “Of course, this is a bad situation. We are keeping the families of the crew in our prayers.” 

Holzaepfel said the area of the bay where the plane crashed is very shallow. 

“There are sections that are ankle deep and some waist deep. It depends where you are out there,” he said. “The crash site is accessible with airboats, and it is extremely shallow.”

Holzaepfel said at this point, it is a recovery operation and an investigation.

“It will proceed as a criminal investigation. Each piece of debris is treated as evidence until they discover what happened,” Holzaepfel said.

The NTSB and FBI are overseeing the collection of the debris and will conduct a forensic analysis, according to Holzaepfel. 

As far as what caused the plane to go down, Holzaepfel said no one knows anything yet.

“All we know right now is that it went down,” he said. 

According to the Atlas Air, Inc. site, the 767 can carry a maximum revenue payload of 116,800 pounds. It also has a cruising speed of 530 mph with a maximum designed range of 3,120 nautical miles. 



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