Thursday, February 18, 2010

Developing: Plane Crash in Austin Texas

Details are somewhat sketchy at the moment, but a small plane apparently crashed into an office building in Austin, Texas. No word on casualties, but the building was badly damaged and several people were taken to the hospital.

Fox News is streaming video of the building and rescue efforts. They also report that an NTSB official says that the pilot may have set fire to his home before getting in his plane. Fox also reports that they're investigating this as an intentional act.
An NTSB official told Fox News that they are investigating this as an intentional act, and said it appears the pilot set his own house on fire and then got in his plane and flew it into the building. An NTSB spokesman, however, told that "we can't confirm any of that."

An Internal Revenue Service office is located inside the building.

IRS Agent William Winnie said he was on the third floor of the building when he saw a light-colored, single engine plane coming towards the building, reported.
If the IRS has offices in the building, they aren't listed on the IRS website, which indicates that they are located at 825 East Rundberg Lane.  It appears that the office building hit by the plane includes certain back office operations for the IRS:.
The Internal Revenue Service has offices in the building, including its civil enforcement and criminal investigations divisions, said Special Agent Michael Lemoine, a spokesman for the criminal investigations division.

He said that some IRS offices are on the first floor, which Lemoine said was hit by the plane.

He said that the criminal investigations division personnel are safe and accounted for. He did not have information on the civil division workers, who conduct audits and other activity at the offices

The FBI website indicates that they have offices in the building (though I've seen that disputed elsewhere - they're apparently in an adjacent building (with the same address?).

It looks like this was an intentional crash, but not necessarily terrorism related, even as the US military scrambled F-16 planes as a precaution following the crash.

As this is a developing situation, motives aren't clear, let alone the identities of those involved.

The pilot has been identified as Joseph Andrew Stack:
A statement released by the U.S. Department of Homeland security earlier said there was no connection to terrorism or criminal behavior -- but changed its statement shortly before 1 p.m. to declare the act criminal.

Joseph Andrew Stack set an explosion that engulfed his house in flames at 9:15, then went to Georgetown Airport about three minutes from Auston, where he hopped the single-engine plane and then crashed it, Marilyn Ryan of CNN reported.

The building is next to the headquarters of the FBI's Austin Field Office.

A neighbor reportedly rescued Stack's wife and daughter.
This is being proffered as his manifesto, and it clearly has an anti-government and anti-religious bent to it; the writer clearly has issues with the IRS treating his income in a way he thought cost him tens of thousands of dollars over the years and had apparently gone through an audit relating to his wife's undocumented income that his CPA knew about but didn't report.

Joe Stack apparently was a keyboardist in this band - what now appears to be all too appropriately named Last Straw, and the album named Over the Edge.

Stack apparently stole the plane. That would explain the military scrambling jets to intercept.

Authorities now believe that he owned the plane, so the prior posting was incorrect. It also appears that he lived in a rather upscale area of Austin, which belies his claims that the IRS ruined him (though for all we know, he was at the end of his financial rope).

It's amazing that more people weren't killed or injured, but Stark's actions still resulted in 12 injured, several seriously, and one person was missing.

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