One victim identified in deadly cargo jet crash in Chambers County

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Sunday, February 24, 2019
NTSB presser update on Atlas Air jet crash
Atlas Air confirmed three people on board a Boeing 767 were killed when the cargo jet plunged into the Trinity Bay.

ANAHUAC, Texas -- One of the three crew members killed on board the Boeing 767 crash in Chambers County has been identified.

Captain Sean Archuleta is one of the members Atlas Air confirmed was on board the cargo jet when it plunged into the Trinity Bay Saturday afternoon.

Archuleta was identified by Mesa Airlines, who said he had been a pilot for them since 2013.

Mesa airlines said Archuleta was riding in the jump seat of the Atlas Air jet at the time of the crash.

"This is a sad day for the entire Mesa Family as we mourn the loss of Captain Sean Archuleta," said Jonathan Ornstein, chairman and chief executive officer of Mesa Airlines. "Our thoughts are with Sean's family, the families of the two Atlas Air pilots, and the whole Atlas Air organization. This is a loss for all of aviation."

Atlas Air confirmed the fatalities a day after investigators found human remains during their search.

On Sunday, the Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said two bodies were recovered from the scene of the crash.

Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says two bodies have been recovered from the scene of the crash.

"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."

According to the FAA, the flight carries an Atlas flight number but was painted in Amazon colors.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy. We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support," Amazon said in a statement.

Atlas Air also sent the following statement Saturday in response to the crash:

This is to confirm that an Atlas Air 767 cargo aircraft Flight No. 3591 operating from Miami to Houston has been involved in an accident this afternoon. We understand the aircraft went down near the city of Anahuac Texas, in the Trinity Bay. We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft. Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time. Atlas Air is cooperating fully with the FAA and NTSB. We will update as additional information becomes available.

A preliminary report stated that the two-engine Boeing 767 cargo jetliner crashed shortly before 12:45 p.m. Saturday near the City of Anahuac, in the Trinity Bay.

Witness captures search for Boeing 767 after crash into Trinity Bay

A witness recorded emergency crews searching for the cargo jet.

During a press conference Saturday afternoon, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne said they first started receiving 911 reports from witnesses who said to have seen the jet go down into the north end of the bay at Jack's Pocket.

WATCH: Chambers County Sheriff's update on cargo jet crash

Chambers County sheriff says witnesses thought they heard lightning before cargo jet crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) on Atlas Air Flight 3591 after losing radar and radio contact with the plane 7 approximately 30 miles southeast of Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The aircraft was flying from Miami to Houston.

"The first thing that I saw the minute I got there is just floating debris," Hawthorne said. "Everything from bed sheets to women's clothing to cardboard boxes."

Hawthorne believed they will be searching the scene for weeks, as the area where the plane landed is best known for duck hunting.

"The problem that everybody is going to have in this recovery process is that the water goes from 5-feet deep to zero and that 0-feet deep is nothing but mud marsh," Hawthorne said.

Sheriff Hawthorne said the DPS dive team will be joining the search for remains and the black box.