On Sunday, investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration combed through the wreckage of a deadly plane crash in Alva.
The plane went down Saturday near the Alva Municipal Airport. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol released the names of the victims early Sunday morning. David Chael, 61, died at the scene and Cory Washburn, 39, was critically injured. Both were experienced pilots.
“His passion was flying, he loved to fly,” said Curt Castillo, friend of Dave Chael. Castillo shared that love for aviation with his friend Dave Chael, having served with him in the Air Force.
“Thousands upon thousands of flying hours, he was a very experienced pilot,” he said.
After retirement, Chael turned to instruction. He was training pilot Cory Washburn on a Beechcraft Bonanza when the plane crashed.
“He was a newer pilot didn't have a lot of hours but he took it serious,” said Bob Baker, friend of Cory Washburn.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol crash report, Washburn was piloting when the engine cover opened. Chael took over. As the landing gear lowered the front tire struck a power line and the plane crashed on its top. The two escaped the wreckage as it burst into flames.
“It doesn't matter how much experience they have, something can go wrong and it just be catastrophic and there's no way of coming out of it,” Castillo noted.
Washburn did make it out but suffered burns over 80 percent of his body. “He's got a long road ahead of him,” said Baker. “Need to pray for this gentleman, a good guy, family man.”
This, as friends and family mourn the loss of an aviation veteran and retired Lt. Colonel with the Air Force.
“For me the loss is not so much the pilot side of it, it's just that I lost a friend,” said Castillo.
The FAA is expected to be on site through at least Monday as investigators continue to look into what happened.