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Plane crash kills 3; was to pick up ex-president Bush

Debris litters a field near Houston's Hobby Airport after a Gulfstream jet crashed Monday.
Houston (Texas)
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

(CNN) -- A plane that had been scheduled to take former President George H.W. Bush to Ecuador crashed Monday morning in Houston, Texas, killing all three crew members.

"'I was deeply saddened to learn of the plane crash this morning," Bush said in a written statement released shortly after the crash. "I've flown with this group before and knew them well. I join in sending my heartfelt condolences to each and every member of their families."

The cause of the crash -- just south of Hobby airport -- was not immediately known. Television station KHOU reported that the plane had apparently clipped a light pole prior to the crash.

The aircraft, a Gulfstream-II jet, departed from Love Field in Dallas and crashed on approach, one-and-a-half miles from the airport, shortly after 6 a.m. (7 a.m. ET).

It burst into flames when it hit the ground, and fire crews rushed to the scene. Jack Williams of the Houston Fire Department said no one on the ground was hurt.

Roger Smith, spokesman for the Houston airport system, said visibility Monday morning was "not ideal," but not poor enough to alter operations. Video from the time of the crash showed some fog and haze.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, as it does with all crashes.

Bush canceled his Monday trip to Ecuador, where he was going to speak as part of a lecture series, said his spokesman, Tom Frechette.

FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said the plane is owned by Jet Place Inc. of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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