A four-engine commuter plane carrying 19 passengers-including 12 members of a Texas Baptist group-crashed on takeoff yesterday at an airport on St. Croix, killing eight persons, officials said.
Five of the dead were members of the church group, said a spokesman for Puerto Rican International Airlines.
The dead were identified as Mr. and Mrs J. O'Connel of Clyde, Tex., Jack, Rosenbaum and Stephen Sapaugh, both of Cydle, Tex., Sharon Geyee of Mays, Tex., Godfrey Iannesse of New York City, Ines Bradley of St. Kitts and Guillermo Pinero of Puerto Rico, the co-pilot.
Prinair spokesman Roy Brown said the plane was a De Havilland Heron and was carrying a capacity load of 19 passengers and two crew members. He said the flight originated in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and had picked up eight passengers at St. Croix, one of the U.S.Virgin Islands.
He said the plane was beginning a 125-mile flight to St. Kitts in the Leeward Islands when it crashed.
Three persons, including two of the Texans, were listed in critical condition at a hospital, spokesman said. The 10 other passengers also were admitted to the U.S. government-operated hospital on St. Croix, officals said. A hospital spokesman said they were in stable condition