Small Plane Crashes into Building in Austin, TX

A few buildings are now burning. Unfolding story.

When they say “small airplane” I always have to ask “how small”? Because the media would say a 40 passenger commercial plane is a “small plane”, whereas to me a “small plane” would be 6 or fewer seats.

I think eye-witnesses said it was a single engine.

An eye-witness, who’s a pilot, says it was a Blue & White Cherokee 140.

It was flying low, hit the top of a 30’ parking lot lamp above him, then sailed right into the center of the building.

Two in as many days:

Uh-oh.

Looks like there might be a connection between a house fire in Austin about an hour before the crash. The homeowner is a pilot that possibly stole a plane he flew out of Georgetown. His family was inside the house while on fire, and I think their neighbors helped them escape.

Possible (intended) murder/suicide?

OK. That’s definitely a small airplane. It’s a 2-seater (unless modified post-purchase).

Quoth CNN:

Er, since when is stealing a plane and crashing it into a building not “criminal or terrorist activity”?

Ok, the plane was a single-engine Cirrus SR22. So, what… probably a 4-seater?

I think that was before they were able to make the connection between the house fire and the crash.

It’s definitely criminal now.

Any idea what building was hit?

Or why that detail isn’t in the news broadcasts?

They were saying it’s the Echelon 3 Bldg.

Apparently the IRS has offices in there as well. Not sure what else is in there. It looks to be an 8-10 story building.

Link:

IRS Criminal Investigation Department was in the building. Not sure if their offices were actually hit by the plane. Cite (in the 4th paragraph).

Or you could just read Ferret Herder’s account above.

My sister works there! She is at HMG Engineering which is http://maps.yahoo.com/map?q1=70%2BNe%2BLoop%2B410%2070%20N.E.%20LOOP%20410%20San%20Antonio%2C%20TX%2078216-5849&mag=2&lat=&lon=&ard=1#mvt=m&lat=29.519907&lon=-98.48909&mag=2&zoom=14&q1=70%20Ne%20Loop%20410%2070%20N.E.%20LOOP%20410%20San%20Antonio%2C%20TX%2078216-5849

I’m not sure if it is this building or another one close by. There are several in that area!

I interviewed in that very building, many years ago. Yikes!

A lot of people are theorizing that he did it because there was an IRS office there. I didn’t know that- personally, if I were him, I would’ve gone for the main IRS building on south I35.

Yep, that’s a 4 seat. Although I think it’s lighter in weight, it’s capable of higher speeds so the total force of impact might be higher with a Cirrus than a PA-140. The Cirrus also comes standard with a ballistic recovery parachute, which in an emergency can be launched through the skin of the airplane to deploy it - this uses a small explosive charge which, unfortunately, tends to go off with heavy impact+fire, and which may account in part for how briskly and hot the resulting fire was. Then again, both types of airplane can carry a considerable amount of gasoline, which also burns quite well when ignited. Combine with paperwork and office furniture and the fire department is definitely needed.

I think by “not connected to terrorist or criminal activity” they mean organized groups of bad guys, not some lone kook with suicidal inclinations.

Between the house fire, stealing the plane, and the kamikaze run I’m inclined to think there are some sort of personal problem(s) at work. With the IRS offices in the building I’m wondering about financial troubles and hatred of taxes… but who knows at this point if the nutball was actually targeting those people or just picked the building on a whim?

Let us know if she’s okay!

Yeh, it’s anyone’s guess right now. It could’ve been totally random. But since it’s a suicide, I’m supposing he had a particular target in mind… especially since he also tried to kill his family. Either he worked there and was disgruntled, or was in trouble with his job or the IRS and was seeking vengeance or attempting to hide something, or of course something else entirely.

ETA: Also, thanks for your aviation insight… it adds a lot of perspective to an incident like this. Especially that bit about the explosive parachute charge that could’ve exasperated the damage.

Latest news, pilots name is joe stack and it is a suicide/attack on the IRS see www.embeddedart.com for his manifesto.