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Sep 8, 2010 12:42 AM by Jim Hummel

Local Pilot Being Called a Hero

As the FAA and NTSB investigate the Labor Day plane crash in Las Vegas that claimed the life of an Erath pilot and severely injured his wife and two friends, some are hailing the pilot a hero.

"It could've been a lot worse," said Ray Savoy, whose son Randal and daughter-in-law Tamika were both seriously injured in the crash. Savoy credits the pilot, 50 year old Douglas Touchet for his loved ones being alive today.

"The pilot really saved the 3 of [them] the way he handled the airplane," he said.

That same sentiment was also echoed near the scene of the crash, in the neighborhood where the plane struck a tree, hit a lamppost, but managed to avoid hitting nearby houses and residents.

"Luckily the pilot did a hell of a job missing everybody, and unfortunately he paid the ultimate price, but he saved a lot of lives," said Joe Frades, who lives near the crash-site.

A spokesman with the NTSB told reporters Monday investigators will look into the histories of the aircraft and pilot and sift through the wreckage for clues as to what caused the crash. A preliminary report could be released within 10 days, the full investigation will likely take six months to complete.

Jim Hummel

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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