Kurt Budke (Source: Trinity Valley Community College)
View of the crash site in the direction of travel. (Source: National Transportation Safety Board)
View of the plane's propeller at the crash site. (Source: National Transportation Safety Board)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its report into the 2011 plane crash that killed two Oklahoma State University coaches who used to coach at an East Texas school.
Women's Basketball Coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna, along with donors Olin and Paula Branstetter, died in the November 2011 crash in Arkansas. The report said the group was flying a Piper PA-28 Cherokee from Stillwater, Okla. to Little Rock, Ark. The NTSB said the Branstetter couple assisted with OSU athletic department by flying coaches on recruiting trips.
According to the report, about two hours after takeoff, the aircraft was at 7,000 feet when it made a right turn and descended and disappeared off from radar.
"Witnesses, who were near the accident site, reported seeing the airplane flying at a low altitude and making turns," according to NTSB investigators. "They then observed the airplane enter a steep nose-low attitude prior to descending toward the terrain."
The plane was flown by Olin Branstetter, 82, who held a commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates for single-engine aircraft. His wife, Paula Branstetter, 79, is also a pilot and held a private pilot certificate. She was seated on the aircraft behind the pilot.
The Piper PA-28 Cherokee was inspected nine days before the crash.
Budke and Serna spent time in East Texas coaching at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens. Budke coached the TVCC Cardinals from 1993-2000, Serna played for Budke in 1996, when the Lady Cardinals won the NJCAA national title. Serna joined Budke's coaching staff the following year.
Budke had a 226-16 record at TVCC and his teams won four national championships and two runner-up finishes in his seven seasons. He was also the youngest coach to be inducted to the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.