The crash of a small jet in northwest Oklahoma City today has proven fatal, officials said. Three members of United Engines of Oklahoma City were among those killed in Tuesday 's plane crash said the wife of crash victim Frank M. Pool Jr., executive vice president of the company. Valrie Pool said those killed included Garth Bates, president of the company, her husband and another business associate. "He was an honest, smart, really intelligent person," Valrie Pool said of her husband of 26 years. Valrie Pool said her husband, Bates and other associates bought the company in 2001. "They were great business partners and great friends," she said. "They were really well-liked by the people at United Engines." Frank Pool, 60, and Valrie Pool have one daughter, Lara Pool, 22, a senior at the University of Denver. As many as five people, including two pilots, may have died in the crash, said Kevin Rowland, chief investigator for the state medical examiner’s office. “We can’t begin the body recovery until tomorrow due to darkness and the condition of the scene,” he said about 7:15 p.m. The plane crashed about 3:15 p.m. near NW 10 and Council, said Roland Herwig, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. He said it was a Cessna 500, also known as a Citation. The aircraft departed Wiley Post and crashed 5 miles southwest of Wiley Post. Herwig said the destination was Mankato, Minn. Valrie Pool said they were going to Minnesota for business. The plane departed from the hangar of Interstate Helicopters at Wiley Post, said a helicopter pilot with that company who would not provide his name. He said two pilots were onboard but was not sure how many passengers were aboard. Interstate Helicopters is an aircraft management company, according to the company’s Web site. “Interstate was merely a facilitator to provide an airplane and a crew to the customer, and I’m not at liberty to release the customer’s name at this point,” said David C. Johnston Jr., Interstate’s attorney. He said there was a “fully qualified ... two-man crew flying the airplane.” Herwig said the plane is registered to Southwest Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Clinic P.C. of Oklahoma City. “We are not familiar with this particular group that owns this airplane,” a spokeswoman with the Mankato Regional Airport said. Wayne Allison, a clinic official with Southwest Orthopaedic, linked the plane to Dr. Anthony L. Cruse. The doctor was not on the plane and was performing surgery at the time of the crash. Jason Lipscomb called The Oklahoman. He is junior varsity baseball coach at Putnam City West High School. He was at baseball practice when he and team members looked up and saw “a jet spiraling” and “it sounded weird.” “Planes and jets fly over our field all the time, but this jet was way louder than normal,” Lipscomb said. “Then we saw it (had) gone down.” The coach left practice, got into a truck and went to the crash site in the woods. “I know that area pretty well ... near Lake Overholser,” he said. Lipscomb said he saw flaming wreckage and a body about 30 yards south of the wreckage. He took pictures with a camera phone. “I think I was the first guy there,” he said. As she was driving west on NW 10 to Bethany, the plane flew right over Lindsey Allison, who is not associated with the clinic. The small plane was going south. She thought it was “a stunt plane.” “It was flipping and spinning and going almost upside down. It was all happening right in front of me. Then it seemed to lose all control; it went straight down and crashed,” said Allison, a clerk with the Oklahoma County sheriff's office. With her was her son, Levi, 6. “I couldn't believe that it was going to crash,” she said. She thought she was the second person on the accident scene. Ryan Coleman was in his home about a half mile from the crash when he heard a loud boom, he said. “I was inside my house with the TV on and heard it over that,” the 30-year-old said. “You could hear it (the plane) hit the trees. You could hear pop, pop, pop and then boom. I didn't think it was a plane.” Coleman thought nothing really of it until he saw on TV what had happened, he said. He ran from his home to the east bank of the Canadian River where he saw smoke and fire in the woods. He stood on the east side of the river looking across, watching firefighters douse the flaming wreckage and paramedics attempt to save lives, he said.
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