Hundreds of Southlake, Texas, residents turned up at a school stadium Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil held for four family members killed in a small airplane crash Saturday morning.
Dr. Leonard Ledet, 50, a dentist and owner of Ledet Dental, died in the airplane crash with his two sons, 17-year-old Paul and 13-year old Mason, and brother Gregory when the Beechcraft Bonanza airplane he was piloting went down after taking off from a regional airport north of Fort Worth, Texas. The family members were on their way to Mississippi to watch Texas A&M play Ole Miss in Saturday’s football game.
According to flight-tracking data, the Ledets’ airplane had a normal takeoff from Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. However, the airplane began to fly erratically over the Terrell airport as it flew southeast toward Mississippi. The airplane reportedly stayed in the air for three and a half hours before it crashed in Van Zandt County.
Van Zandt Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell told NBCDFW that the airplane was “completely destroyed.”
“It’s just torn to pieces, pretty much, over a wide debris area.”
Federal aviation regulators arrived at the crash site Sunday to begin an investigation. Causes of airplane crashes often take months to determine, so it could be several weeks before investigators know what factors may have contributed to the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration said that that the single-engine airplane was built in 1985 and belonged to Palm-L Aviation LLC, a Southlake, Texas, company that public records show was registered in August 2011 by Leonard and Gregory Ledet, its active officers.
The crash was the second crash in two weeks of an airplane departing from Roanoke’s regional airport. A pilot and one passenger died September 22 after the Piper PA 28 aircraft they were in crashed in Senton County, Texas, shortly after takeoff from Roanoke. According to NBCDFW, “Airport employees said the airplane sounded like it had mechanical issues right before the crash” but investigators have not determined the exact cause.