Plane recovered from Lake Palestine after being submerged three years

LAKE PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) -A two-seater plane that crashed into Lake Palestine three years ago is finally back at the surface. After an underwater investigation firm spent months locating the exact location, they hired a dive team and spent a day extracting it.

"We performed several SONAR sweeps at various coordinates we thought were supposed to be the location of the plane," Summit Investigation and Imaging owner Brian West said. "We found things that looked like airplanes... they would be tree stumps with pieces of plywood on the side."

He says the initial investigation and paperwork are what took longest. After combing through crash reports and data from DPS, the FAA and NTSB, he was on the water with SONAR equipment. Then when he pinpointed the wreck, it was time to move.

"Two of our divers went down and they made a sweep with a 50 foot rope," International ALERT Academy instructor Michael Harman said. "They found the plane right away and tied off to it."

A team of divers from the academy partnered with West in the physical recovery. The dive team inspected the wreckage and attached a lift bag to the plane's prop. From there, it started to rise.

"It pulled the plane nose up, and then we had the plane hanging vertically in the water," Harman said. "We attached two smaller lift bags to the tail and brought the tail up."

They towed the plane in slowly, and once it was on dry land they let it drain in stages as they took it from the water.

West says the fuselage was sold for scrap, and other parts are being inspected for reuse elsewhere.

"The river authority wanted the airplane off the bottom of the lake," West said.

And now, it is.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Pickup crashes into East Texas school bus, ten injured

PITTSBURG, TX (KLTV) - East Texas Medical Center says all of the Pittsburg ISD students involved in a morning bus crash are released from the hospital.

"It could have been so much worse," Pittsburg ISD Superintendent Judy Pollan said. "It was a very intense hit."

Around 7 a.m. a northbound pickup truck on US 271 slammed into the back of a parked school bus with its lights flashing. The hit sent glass flying through the bus, and pulverized the pickup truck.

Pollan says all Pittsburg ISD students will make full recoveries, and none of them suffered major injuries. But according to ETMC, two juvenile passengers in the pickup truck were flown to a Dallas hospital in serious condition. Their current condition is unknown at this time.

"The scariest part was watching them take the kids out of that truck," Pittsburg High School sophomore Nicholas Glass said.

More: ETMC: Two children flown to Dallas hospital following Pittsburg ISD bus wreck

Nicholas Glass was in one of the back seats of the bus when the crash happened. Following the crash, he was able to get cleaned up at his home, but says a dizzy spell prompted his mother to take him to the hospital. There he found out he had suffered minor whiplash, and is expected to recover well.

"I'll be at school tomorrow," he said.

The school bus is out of commission for now, parked in the back lot of the school district's central office. The left rear bumper is pushed under, and some back windows are blown out. Glass litters the back of the bus.

"I really want to emphasize the importance of drivers watching out for school buses," Superintendent Pollan said. "What we're seeing are so many drivers who go flying around the bus so they won't have to stop and be delayed. It is very dangerous to do that."

It is illegal too. The Texas Department of Public Safety says, "it is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign."

The driver of the pickup is identified as Angelika Resendez, 29, of Mt. Pleasant. According to ETMC, she was treated and released from ETMC-Pittsburg.

DPS says the investigation is continuing at this time.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Lew's Welding Service serving up products after nearly 90 years

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -Rising from the dusty pavement of East Erwin Street is a welding shop with a sign that reads "Lew's" in large capital letters. The shop itself has been there since the late '20's, and its workers still crank out project after project decades after the original owner passed.

Inside, there's Ed Williamson, Jeff Hill and Joe Long. Since the 1970's, they've worked in the brick building. Now they're partners with retirement looming.

"It's still years away," Williamson said. "We would like to see the business continue."

More here.

City of Tyler will not accept $1.58 million staffing grant

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -Tyler City Council moved and approved to deny a $1.58 million federal grant that would have helped hire 12 new firefighters to add to the city's department. Council members say they chose to deny because once that money runs dry, they believe the city would not be able to afford the positions on its own.

"Year three and four could create a financial crisis and create a burden on future councils," District Four Council member Don Warren said. "We have pulled rabbits out of hats for the past two years [making the budget] and frankly, we are running out of rabbits."

The SAFER Grant is federally funded and would cover a significant amount of the new personnel costs for two years. According to the detailed council agenda, the grant would cover $640,998 and the city would cover $213,666 in the first two years. In the third year though, that flips. The city would cover $555,532 and the grant would cover $299,132.

Then from year four forward, the city would cover the full cost of the 12 firefighters.

More here.

East Texans killed in weekend wreck remembered as selfless mentors

October 1, 2017

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - More information is being released about the death of a Tyler Fire Department Captain and his wife after a weekend wreck in Arkansas. According to an initial crash report from the Arkansas State Police, Marty and Jean Lawrence were traveling eastbound on I-30 about 15 miles south of Arkadelphia, Arkansas when an also eastbound truck struck their vehicle, sending both off the roadway.

They were going to visit their son James, who kicks for Henderson State University.

Tyler enters second year of storm water drainage surveys

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - One of the more pertinent Tyler City Council agenda items Wednesday dealt with the city's Comprehensive Storm Water Master Plan. The city will enter into a $500k contract with the firm Halff Associates to continue their work identifying problem areas in the city's drainage infrastructure.

Retired NASA astronaut offers East Texas students message of persistence

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly stepped off the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2011 into his retirement. He did so in part to help his wife, Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona Congresswoman who survived an assassination attempt that same year.

Tuesday night, Captain Kelly spoke at the All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler as they cut the ribbon on their Center for Innovation.