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Two die in Niederwald plane crash

By SEAN BATURA
News Reporter

A 64-year-old man and his six-year-old grandson died Monday morning when their small plane crashed east of Niederwald in Caldwell County.

When the Piper single-engine turboprop aircraft disappeared from traffic controllers’ radar screens just after 11:30 a.m., the plane’s pilot, William Kent Riley of Rockport, was flying on instruments in misty weather, under an overcast sky.

“They were receiving air traffic services throughout the whole flight, and there was no indication of anything wrong, or a distress signal, or anything that might give an idea of what was going on,” said Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) spokesperson Lynn Lunsford.

After the plane vanished off the radar screens about six miles from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, traffic controllers notified local law enforcement. Just after noon, traffic controllers received news of an aircraft debris field off Williamson Road, about 2.5 miles south of the intersection of  SH 21 and U.S. 183, and “a couple hundred yards” from a house, according to Texas Department of Public safety spokesperson Tom Vinger.

“It pretty much disintegrated on impact, broke into multiple pieces,” Vinger said. “Debris were scattered over about a 350-yard area.”

Vinger said the two people were probably killed on impact. Vinger said he had not confirmed the child’s name.

Lunsford said investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), among other agencies, will be on scene at the crash site Tuesday morning to conduct their investigation.