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3 people, including 3-year-old boy, killed in Texas glider crash

June 18, 2012|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

HOUSTON -- Authorities say three people, including a 3-year-old boy, died Sunday afternoon when their glider crashed in a southeast Texas field.

Fred Blair, 68, of Wallis, Texas, and Matilda Blair, 32, and 3-year-old Andrew Blair, both of Houston, died in the crash. The relationship among the three was not immediately clear, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Erik Burse told the Los Angeles Times.

The crash was reported around 5 p.m. Sunday near Wallis, about 40 miles north of Houston, according to a report released to The Times on Monday by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

On Monday, investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were still trying to determine what caused the crash.

A glider is launched by a separate aircraft, which tows it at least 2,000 feet into the sky and then releases it to fly on its own. Sunday's crash happened shortly after takeoff when the glider was released from the tow aircraft and went into a nose dive, according to the DPS report.

Autopsies on the trio were pending Monday, staff at the Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office told The Times.

The glider was registered to the Greater Houston Soaring Assn., according to federal records. The group offers recreational gliding outside of Houston, according to its website.

Fred Blair retired from Houston Lighting & Power in 1994 and spent nearly a decade as a pilot with the Soaring Society of America and 16 years as a musician with the Houston Symphonic Band, according to Facebook, where his profile photo features an aircraft.

Join Molly on Google+and Twitter @mollyhf. Email: molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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