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TPWD News Release — Aug. 3, 2009

Pilot Survives Plane Crash at Lake Whitney State Park

AUSTIN, Texas — A small, single-engine private plane crashed and caught fire around 10:15 a.m. today near the public airfield inside Lake Whitney State Park. The sole occupant, the pilot, was transported in stable condition to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is the lead authority investigating the accident and is in charge of the crash scene, assisted by the Hill County Sheriff’s office and other agencies.

State Park Superintendent Jeffrey Towers said he saw the plane descending slowly and suspected trouble. Towers said within five minutes after the crash, he and other park employees were on the scene and found the pilot had walked away from the plane on his own.

The crash occurred in an undeveloped open pasture area in the central part of the 955-acre state park, about 300 yards east of the Lake Whitney State Park Airfield. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department operates the general aviation runway, which was there before the state park opened in 1964. TPWD allows private use of the 2,000-foot paved runway, charging standard state park entrance fees for its use. The plane crash caused a small grass fire, about a quarter-acre in size, although initial observations indicate the crash did not cause any major impact to state park resources.

For more information than appears in this news release, news media should contact the DPS Public Information Office at (512) 424-2080.