2 killed in North Texas plane crash identified

A flight instructor and her student are dead after the fiery crash of their twin-engine plane at a North Texas airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the Piper PA-34 went down soon after 4 p.m. Sunday while preparing to land at the municipal airport in Gainesville, about 75 miles northwest of Dallas. It crashed about 440 yards from a runway.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says Chinese student pilot 22-year-old Yu Qiu was pronounced dead at the scene. Twenty-five-year-old instructor Francesca Norris of North Richland Hills later died at a hospital.

It’s unclear who was in control when the plane went down. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

The FAA has not yet released the plane’s tail number.

The instructor and student were from U.S. Aviation Academy in Denton, which owned the plane, according to the Gainesville Daily Register.

“All of our hearts are heavy as we collectively mourn our student and friend,” Justin Sykes, assistant CFO of U.S. Aviation Academy, told the Gainesville Daily Register in an emailed statement Sunday evening. “... Our hearts are with our student’s and instructor’s families, friends and loved ones.”

“The safety of our students and instructors remains at the cornerstone of our training program and, with that in mind, we are assisting with the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and local authorities as they investigate the accident. We will also be conducting our own internal investigation,” Sykes said in the statement.

The plane took off from Denton Enterprise Airport about 2:40 p.m. Sunday, and was scheduled to land in Gainesville about 4 p.m., according to FlightAware.com.

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