Texas International Airlines crash still in Arkansas mountains - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Texas International Airlines crash still in Arkansas mountains

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(KATV)-On Sept. 27, 1973, a Texas International Airlines passenger plane, flying from El Dorado to Texarkana goes missing. 

Hundreds begin searching for the missing flight. The following day, an Arkansas National Guard helicopter with three members on board, crashes trying to find it.

"In an aircraft of that size and that speed, it should have been an easy 20 minute flight, but due to an area of thunderstorms, the crew chose to travel north around those thunderstorms," said Jeremy Lashbrook, an experienced pilot and instructor, asked to review the crash report for Channel 7 News. "I use a little bit of this story in some teaching."

Lashbrook said it was obvious the pilots did not know where they were.

"This is prior to global positioning system. The crew was having trouble knowing exactly where they were. In fact, there are several times in the cockpit voice recorder, they mention they think they are south of hot springs when they were further north west than that," Lashbrook said.

In the flight transcript, the first officer is clearly worried about the plane's elevation.

"We don't want to go too far up, it gets hilly."

"Fred you can quit worrying about mountains because that'll clear everything over there."

The pilot couldn't even finish his last words before the plane suddenly hit the side of the Ouachita Mountain range. The flight carrying 9 passengers and three crew members crashed, killing all 11 on board. 

The search went on for three days until an air traffic controller, who saw a tiny blip on his radar that fateful night, came forward. The plane ended up being much further north than where investigators were searching.

Jan Harrison, Sr. hiked up to the crash days after investigators left. He was 20 years old.

"I don't know if people understand what a big deal it was in Arkansas in 1973, you had a missing airliner, you had three people die trying to find that airliner,  nobody knew where it was for three days and when they finally found it, it was in a place no one expected," Harrison said.

He said he was shocked by what he found.

"We were there right after the recovery people left so it was still a very fresh crash site if you would say. I hate to use the word shocking, but I didn't expect to see clothing hanging from tree limbs," Harrison said. 

Channel 7 News reached out to the NTSB for comment on why the crash was never cleaned up. The NTSB said that once an investigation is over, the plane is turned over to the owners. Texas International Airlines closed down in 1982. 
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