The Department of Public Safety says the single engine aircraft had taken off from a private airstrip. The pilot then made a shard turn back toward the airstrip, for an unknown reason.
Update 5:10 p.m. (8/17/14):
The Department of Public Safety has released the names of the victims killed in a small plane crash around midnight near Ranger.
The two passengers were Debra S. Weaver and Courtney A. Weaver. The pilot was John C. Weaver. At this point, DPS says they do not have addresses of the victims or the cause of the crash.
More information will be released later.
Three passengers are dead after a small plane crashed around midnight in Eastland County, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
A single-engine Lancair crashed shortly after takeoff from Cook Canyon Ranch Airport between Saturday and Sunday. An FAA official said the aircraft came down in a wooded area about three miles northwest of Ranger.
The FAA is being told by law enforcement officials that all three aboard the aircraft died in the crash.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board will inspect the crash site and determine a cause.
The Department of Public Safety has yet to release the names of the victims.