Thursday, February 18, 2010

Plane Crash in Austin

We're having an exciting morning in Austin today. A Cessna crashed into the Echelon building on Research Boulevard. Research Boulevard is the frontage road for U.S. Highway 183; Echelon is near the interchange for 183 and Mopac (Loop 1), so it has apparently gummed up traffic. There is actually more than one Echelon building in that complex; I'm not sure which number it is, although it is one visible from the road. [Added Later: Apparently it's Echelon 1, although some sources keep saying it's Echelon 3.]

I'm up in Cedar Park this morning, north of Austin, but Echelon is just a few minutes south of where I live, and it must have happened as I was driving up. There are a lot of government offices in the area, including FBI, IRS, and (they say) CIA, but (as far as I know) none in that building itself, which consists only of commercial office suites -- Echelon is mostly full of things like yoga classes, software company branch offices, and travel agents. The buildings themselves are nondescript; I suspect most people who see them don't notice them (they are just south of the Arboretum, right near the much more visible back of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, for those who ever drive 183; Dave & Buster's is across 183 and a little south).

[UPDATE I: There have been rumors all morning that this was deliberate, and that the target were the IRS offices in the area. So far there hasn't been much in the way of evidence.]

[UPDATE II: St. Edward's University apparently has an adult education center in the building; all the students and faculty were evacuated, with none harmed.]

[UPDATE III: Things are beginning to get more specific. There were IRS offices in the building that was hit. The pilot may have set his house on fire and stolen a plane.]

[UPDATE IV: So far no casualties, only a few hospitalizations. They've apparently found Joseph Andrew Stack's suicide note.]

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