Austin small plane crash not act of terrorism: officials

09:37, February 19, 2010      

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Officials have ruled out the possibility of terrorist attack in a plane crash into an office building that occurred in Austin, the U.S. state of Texas on Thursday.

A small aircraft crashed into a building next to an FBI office in the Texas state capital of Austin on February 18, 2010, local officials said. The plane crashed into a seven-story building at about 10 a.m. CST, said Helena Wright, a spokeswoman for the Austin Police Department. (Xinhua/Reuters)

"We do not yet know the cause of the plane crash," said Matt Chandler, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman in Washington. "We have no reason to believe it was connected to any . .. terrorist activity."

Local police also said that the crash of the small plane into the building was just a separate incident and there was no reason for public panic.

However, federal officials also noted that the pilot may have crashed the plane intentionally in a suicidal move.

Initially identified as Joseph Andrew Stack, the pilot, said to be a disgruntled engineer, allegedly left an anti-government note on the Internet before crashing his small plane into the office building that houses the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The note outlines problems with the IRS and says violence "is the only answer." It also lashes out on former president George W. Bush and incumbent President Barack Obama.

Witnesses said the low-flying plane appeared to sharply bank from the east across a highway, hitting the building in the lower floors just before 10 a.m. CST.

The pilot apparently burned his own house in an Austin suburb before carrying out the suicidal act, local officials told a televised news conference.

The crash left one person missing and wounded two others, whose conditions were not immediately known, according to Austin Fire Department spokesman Harry Evans.

The building was engulfed in flames after the crash.

"There's lots of smoke, lots of heat, lots of fire," Evans told a press conference.

More than 100 first-responders were at the scene, he said.

Source: Xinhua
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