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Metro plane crash proves fatal

Staff Reports Modified: March 4, 2008 at 8:41 pm •  Published: March 4, 2008
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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.

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