Church staffer witnesses Austin plane crash

AUSTIN, Texas (BP)--Charles Waters couldn't believe what he'd just witnessed while running errands as part of his support staff work at Great Hills Baptist Church in northwest Austin.

He'd left the church, he said, between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. and was pulling onto an access road near a federal office complex about a mile south of the church campus.

"At first I really thought I was seeing a vision," Waters said. "The plane came in at full speed and crashed right into the building," sending out a fireball toward the street he was on and causing the driver in front of him to quickly brake.

"If we'd have kept going, that fireball might well have engulfed our cars."

Waters said he quickly called 911 but couldn't get through. Instead, he called his wife and told her to turn on the television because "you are going to see something you won't believe."

Waters said Austin police interviewed him following the crash of the single-engine Piper Cherokee airplane piloted by Joseph Andrew Stack of Austin, whom authorities say intentionally flew the plane into the building that housed the Internal Revenue Service and other federal workers, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Reports on Thursday afternoon link Stack to a long rant against the IRS posted on a website created by him and to a house fire in north Austin earlier in the morning.

Early reports said two people were admitted to local hospitals with injuries and a third person was unaccounted for. Stack was presumed dead at the scene


Reported by the staff of the Southern Baptist TEXAN (www.texanonline.net), newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

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