Family of 4 among 10 killed in Texas private plane crash

Cause of crash under investigation

By Melissa Alonso and Jason Hanna, CNN
CNN Video

ADDISON, Texas - At least one of the crew members of a plane that crashed into an airplane hangar in Texas over the weekend and killed all 10 aboard spoke of an engine problem seconds before a cockpit voice recording ends, a federal official said Tuesday.

The Beechcraft Super King Air 350 aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff Sunday morning at an airport in Addison, veering into a private hangar and bursting into flames, officials have said.

Investigators recovered the cockpit voice recorder, and National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chair Bruce Landsberg on Tuesday told reporters the following about what can be heard on it:

• The tower cleared the plane to take off about one minute before the recording ends.

• "Crew comment consistent with confusion occurred about 12 seconds before the end of the recording."

• "Crew comment regarding a problem with the left engine occurred about eight seconds before the end of the recording."

• Automated alerts about the plane's bank angle can be heard about three seconds before the recording ends.

Landsberg declined to go into further detail about what is on the recording, saying that the NTSB would publish a transcript and more descriptions as the investigation progressed.

The plane was scheduled to fly from Addison -- about 15 miles north of Dallas -- to St. Petersburg, Florida, according to investigators.

Video taken from the airport's cameras show the plane "had gotten airborne, then veered to the left of the runway and then rolled to the left," Landsberg said on Monday. "It was in the process of rolling left when it impacted with the hangar."

The plane crashed through the hangar and burst into flames, according to witnesses.

No cause for the crash is known, but a preliminary report is expected in two weeks, Landsberg said.

Investigators are interviewing witnesses, and both engines are being examined, NTSB investigator Jennifer Rodi said.

The NTSB is examining four videos of the takeoff and wreck, including two taken from the end of the runway, one from a parked fire truck, and one from a different hangar, Landsberg said. The plane did not have a data recorder, he said.

The victims included a family of four

Two of those on board were members of the flight crew and the other eight were passengers, Landsberg has said.

Five of the 10 victims have been publicly identified by the Dallas County medical examiner's office. They were Brian Mark Ellard, 53; Stephen Lee Thelen, 58; Matthew Palmer, 27; Alice Maritato, 15, and Dylan Maritato, 13.

A sixth victim -- Ornella Ellard -- was publicly named by the Catholic Diocese of Dallas.

The diocese said four of the victims were a family: Brian Ellard was the stepfather of Alice Maritato and Dylan Maritato, and Ornella Ellard was Brian Ellard's wife and the children's mother.

Mille Lire, a Dallas restaurant that Brian Ellard co-owned, also issued a statement naming Ornella Ellard as a victim in the crash.

"The Catholic Diocese of Dallas grieves with the communities of All Saints Catholic School in Dallas and John Paul II High School in Plano as we mourn the deaths of passengers Dylan and Alice Maritato, and their mother and stepfather, Ornella and Brian Ellard," Catholic Diocese of Dallas Bishop Edward J. Burns said in a statement. "As a community, we are saddened at the tragic loss of all who perished in the crash and offer special prayers for their families."

CNN's Hollie Silverman, Sheena Jones, Chelsea J. Carter, Deanna Hackney and Amanda Jackson contributed to this report.

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