Texas Family of 5 Killed After Their Small Plane Slammed Into the Ground and Was 'Destroyed'
"I imagine this is a very difficult time for the families and I hope we'll be able to provide some answers in the future," an investigator said
All seven people aboard a small plane died when the aircraft crashed on Wednesday, Canadian officials confirmed.
Houston native Otabek Oblokulov was piloting the plane, which was also carrying his wife and their three children — ages 3, 11 and 15 years old — as well as a Toronto couple, the CBC reported. The tragedy happened in Kingston, Ontario, about 5 p.m. local time.
The Piper PA-32 model, a single-engine private plane sometimes referred to as a Cherokee Six, “collided with terrain” and was “destroyed” in the impact, Chris Krepski, a spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said in a news conference.
The TSB described the angle of impact as “very steep” and there was no sign of a post-impact fire. Investigators are still unsure whether inclement weather played a factor in the crash.
Flying from Markham, Ontario, to Quebec City, the group was planning to ground in Kingston for the night on Wednesday, according to the CBC.
“I imagine this is a very difficult time for the families and I hope we’ll be able to provide some answers in the future,” Ken Webster, TSB’s lead crash investigator, told the CBC.
First responders arrived to the crash site to find parts of the aircraft scattered among trees in a heavily-wooded area, according to the CBC, and a nearby resident told the outlet she heard a loud noise which she mistook for thunder.
“About a half hour after that, there were swarms of [police] all through our backfield looking for an aircraft,” she said. “They had their four-wheelers, flashlights. … There were lots of them.”
“Investigations are complex and we take the time needed to complete a thorough investigation,” TSB officials wrote in a statement. “However, should the investigation team uncover safety deficiencies that present an immediate risk, the Board will communicate them without delay.”
The statement continued: “Further, it is important not to speculate, or draw conclusions as to causes at this time. There are often many factors that can contribute to an accident.”
According to the CBC, a YouTube video from Anson Aviation posted in May features Oblokulov speaking about purchasing the plane to take his family on trips, including their first family outing with the plane — a camping trip at the Grand Canyon.
“It was beautiful,” he said in the video, recalling the trip. “It handled perfectly … we were happy.”
Dana Atkinson, president of Texas-based Anson Aviation, tells PEOPLE that Oblokulov completed his private pilot training course in May 2018. Later that year, Anson helped Oblokulov find a plane to purchase from a third-party seller, which he got in February.
“Otabek Oblokulov was a part of the pilot community at the Sugar Land Regional Airport. He was outgoing and well-liked,” Atkinson says. “The sudden and tragic loss of Mr. Oblokulov and members of his family is mourned by those who knew him.”