77ºF

Company involved in deadly plane crash flies Jaguars players

Plane that crashed in Texas was 27 years old, heavily used, records show

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The company that operated a cargo plane that crashed near Houston after taking off from a Florida airport over the weekend was used to charter Jacksonville Jaguars players to away games, according to documents obtained by the News4Jax I-TEAM.

Three people died Saturday afternoon when the cargo plane carrying Amazon Prime packages crashed into Trinity Bay in Chambers County, Texas.

On Sunday, the Chambers County Sheriff's Office confirmed two bodies were recovered from the site of the plane crash in the Trinity Bay, near Anahuac.

Monday, National Transportation Safety Board investigators examined wreckage from the 767 jetliner. Authorities were still looking for a third victim and the plane's black box. They have not released a cause of the crash.

Nearly a dozen owners

The I-TEAM researched the history of the Boeing 767-375(ER).

According to data posted on Planespotter.net, the plane is 27 years old. Since its first flight in April 1992, the plane changed ownership nearly a dozen times.

It was operated by carriers across the world like Canadian Airlines, China Southern Airlines, LAN Chile and LAN Argentina.

Atlas Air purchased the plane in January 2016 and began using it for Amazon Prime Air in April 2017.

The company operates worldwide with a fleet of 747s, 777s, 767s, and 737s for private charters as well as moving cargo and equipment.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and other NFL teams use Atlas Air to travel to away games. The Jaguars used one of the airliner’s 747s for charters during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

'Very old and tired'

Flight history shows the 767 took off from Miami International Airport at 11:33 a.m. Saturday, heading for Houston’s Bush International Airport. That same day, the plane flew from Ontario, Canada to Miami.

On Friday, the plane was used for a flight from Chicago to Riverside, California, to Honolulu Hawaii, to Ontario, Canada.

It had been involved 26 flights in the 12 days prior to the deadly flight.

 

Aviation attorney, pilot and News4Jax aviation expert Ed Booth reviewed the plane’s history, calling the aircraft “very old and tired.” He noted more than 20 years of “rugged service” in China and South America.

He said the flight plan showed “extremely aggressive use of an old airframe.”

Atlas Air issued a statement after the crash:

“Atlas’ primary focus is working to provide the families of those affected with care and support. The company has established a Family Assistance Center staffed with specialists to support the families. Atlas Air Chief Executive Officer Bill Flynn is on site with a team from the airline.   

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected,” said Bill Flynn, Atlas Air Chief Executive Officer. “This is a sad time for all of us. Our team continues to work closely with the NTSB, the FAA and local authorities on the ground in Houston. We would like to commend the efforts of all of the first responders. We sincerely appreciate their efforts and support in the investigation.”

Of the three people killed, only one person has been identified.

Capt. Sean Archuleta had been a pilot for Mesa Airlines since 2013, officials said. He was riding in the jump seat of the aircraft to travel to Houston to fly another aircraft, according to Mesa Airlines.​


About the Author: