CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Officials say only one person, an Oklahoma man, died in the plane crash in Cherokee County Monday night.
John Thomas Steeper, of Broken Arrow, was 64. His family and friends knew him as Tom, according to an e-mail from a deputy from the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office.
According to the DPS report, Steeper departed West Houston Airport at 8:43 p.m. and was on the way to Tulsa in a twin-engine Cessna 421C. He lost control over Wells in a severe thunderstorm at 24,000 feet and descended at 15,000 feet per minute.
Eric Weiss, a public information officer with the National Transportation Safety Board, said the Federal Aviation Administration issued an ALNOT, or a Alert Notice, when the plane dropped off radar at 9:33 p.m.
Steeper crashed in a heavily wooded area 1.5 miles west of Wells and his plane exploded on impact, killing him.
None of the plane remains have been removed, pending an NTSB investigation.
According to DPS, the tail number was N67SR.
Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were sifting through the plane's burned wreckage at the crash site Tuesday morning. They brought in a backhoe to move pieces around., so they could obtain a serial number from one of the engines.