4 People Killed in Small Plane Crash in Texas Following Emergency Landing Attempt

A small plane in Texas headed for Louisiana crashed while attempting an emergency landing on Sunday, killing all four people on board, authorities said.

The single-engine Piper PA-46 Malibu crashed just before 11 a.m. near Hilltop Lakes Airport in Hilltop Lakes, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration tells PEOPLE in a statement.

The plane had left from Horseshoe Bay, Texas at 9:59 a.m., and was scheduled to land in Natchitoches, Louisiana just before noon, according to flight records.

The victims of the crash were identified as Kenneth Hix and Missy Lynn Hix, both 59, of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Phillip Ackal, 59, and Pauline Ackal, 58, of Natchitoches, said the Texas Department of Public Safety, which did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment, according to CBS affiliate KLFY.

The pilot of the plane had been trying to make contact with the FAA prior to the crash to report that the aircraft was experiencing engine trouble, CBS affiliate KBTX reported. The plane went down as the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing.

Witness Justin DeLeon told the outlet he saw the plane flying very low to the ground just before the crash.

“He got over the putt-putt area across from the stables. He banked left, almost overcorrected, and then banked right again,” DeLeon said. “And then he banked left one last time and when he did that second bank to the left, he pretty much nose-dived straight vertical into the ground.”

The plane went down in an open field near Hilltop Lake Stables, Stables manager Greg Nelson told Fox affiliate KWKT.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the crash, but would not be traveling to the scene.

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