plane

The plane above is the same model as the one in which Michael Smith, John Wesley Gartman and Robert Loughmiller were traveling when it crashed Tuesday night. The crash killed all three. More details will be published as they become avaliable.

By Kelly Young

countybeat@jacksonvilleprogress.com

Three residents of New Summerfield were killed Tuesday night when a Cessna 172H piloted by Michael Smith, 26, crashed near Armstrong, Texas, in Kenedy County.

Smith was the youth director at First Baptist Church of New Summerfield. The other two victims, John Wesley Gartman, 14, and Robert Loughmiller, 16, were both members of Smith’s youth group. A licensed pilot, Smith was the son of Joe Smith, proprietor of Joe Smith Plant Farm.

At the time of the accident, the plane was traveling from Weslaco to Jacksonville. Authorities believe the airplane crashed at approximately 9:30 p.m.

The crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. The cause of the accident is unknown at this time.

Cessna 172H Superhawks are single engine, high-wing airplanes with seats for four occupants.

First Baptist Church of New Summerfield will host a community-wide prayer service at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4 in memory of Smith, Gartman and Loughmiller. Area ministers and counselors are invited to attend and assist. The church is open 24 hours a day for anyone who wants to go and pray.

The Smith family has no comment at this time.

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