Thursday, February 18, 2010 – a tragedy occurred today in Austin, Texas. At approximately 10am, a 53-year-old software engineer named Joseph Stack flew a Piper PA-28 Cherokee plane into the side of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building. The building housed nearly 200 Federal employees.
Witnesses to the crash noticed the plane was flying unusually low, but said it did not appear to be out of control. The plane’s gas tank was full, and it erupted into a massive fireball after striking the side of the building. Plumes of thick, dark smoke billowed into sky, and debris continued to rain down from the building long after the collision.
When it happened, no one was sure why. People speculated that it was an accident or terrorist attack, but the truth was soon uncovered. Joseph Stack was the pilot, and according to officials, the crash was intentional.
Stack was enraged because two businesses he founded were shut down by the State Franchise Tax Board. He wanted revenge, and left a long note on his website that included comments such as “Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer” and “Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”
Before heading to the airport, Stack set his own house on fire. His wife and daughter had to be rescued from the flames. Stack never filed a flight plan, but that didn’t raise suspicions since he was flying under Visual Flight Rules, a law that allows pilots to fly freely in premium weather conditions.
In the aftermath of the crash, one person from the IRS building was not accounted for, and two others were hospitalized. Amazingly, no other serious injuries have been reported. Workers said the impact of the plane felt like a bomb exploded in the building, and people scrambled to find safety. One small group had no way out other than to break a window and climb onto a concrete ledge.
As emergency crews arrived, they rescued people who weren’t able to evacuate the building, tended to injuries and helped soothe the terrified victims who were trying to make sense of their horrifying ordeal. Crews worked feverishly to extinguish the flames, and two F-16 fighter aircraft were deployed to patrol the area as a precautionary measure.
At PeopleFinders, when we hear about such a heartbreaking event, our thoughts go in one direction: people. It is impossible to watch a scene like today’s plane crash in Austin and not feel deep emotions. You fear for those who were put in danger, and hope they will be safe. You can’t help but think about the people who had loved ones inside the building, and the uncertainty they must have felt when the news broke.
Family and friends are the most cherished part of all our lives. That’s why PeopleFinders is dedicated to helping you find and reconnect with family, friends and anyone you’ve been missing. A tragic moment like today’s plane crash in Austin reminds us of just how important people are; and that you never know what could happen to any of us.
Hold your loves ones close tonight, and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders People Search blog.