Marble Falls, TX Private Plane Crash, Dec 1984


Marble Falls (AP) - Federal authorities began their investigation today into what caused the crash of a twin-engine plane belonging to Texas rancher-oilman Clinton Manges that killed the pilot of the aircraft.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board in Fort Worth and the Federal Aviation Administration flight standards district office in San Antonio began their investigations today, said FAA spokesman Walter Ernst.
"We look at such things as the certification of the airman, the certification of the plane, whether airport safety was involved," Ernst said. "The NTSB determines probable cause.
Tommy McFall, air safety specialist with the NTSB, said NTSB chief investigator Warren Wandell was enroute to the scene, where he would be studying a number of possible causes to the crash.
"He will be looking at the condition of the aircraft, its history and what human factors may have been involved," McFall said. The victim, whose body was burned beyond recognition, was identified as Manges' pilot, RAY McCLELLAN, 50, of Horseshoe Bay in Llano County, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Larry Todd.
Manges' wife, Ruth, told the Associated Press her husband was alive.
"We're just glad to report it's not Clinton. He's fine. He called me," Mrs. Manges said early today.
Malou Manges, 20, said she talked to her father by telephone from Houston almost four hours after the accident.
The twin-engine Cessna Conquest crashed and exploded at about 8:20 p.m. Tuesday night at the T. P. Ranch northwest of Austin, Todd said.
Todd said the 10-passenger plane was identified by the craft's tail number, which is N441CM. He said it was registered to the Clinton Manges Oil and Refining Co. of Austin.
Manges is a principal owner of the San Antonio Gunslingers of the United States Football League and he has ranching, banking and oil interests in South Texas.
The foreman of the ranch where the plane went down heard the plane overhead and thought it was flying too low, said Llano County Constable Tom Hall.
"He said he knew it sounded too low. He saw the glow on impact, an orange glow under the fog," said Hall.
The plane came to a stop near a small clump of oak trees after skidding some 300 yards, Hall said.
Hall said there was no evidence to indicate there was more than one person in the plane when it crashed. He said the body, which was found in the cockpit, was
"extremely burned."
At the time of the crash, the area was covered by heavy fog and drizzle, making visibility very difficult, Hall said.
The only thing left of the left side of the plane was "some floor, a bunch of ash and some scrap," Hall said.
Asked if there was any speculation as to what caused the crash, Hall said: "No. There are sure as hell not any instruments left to read."
The right wing was almost completely severed from aircraft, which is trimmed in black and blue. However, the "CM" brand of Manges' ranch was still visible on the plane's tail section.

New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung Texas 1984-12-26