FRANKLIN, N.C. (AP) — Five people were killed Thursday in the fiery crash of a small private plane as it attempted to land at an airport in western North Carolina, authorities said.
Macon County Airport manager Neil Hoppe said the county medical examiner indicated five people died in the crash. The identities of the victims weren’t immediately released.
Hoppe said the Cessna Citation made a steep descent, and when it touched down, the nose wheel touched first instead of the main gear. He said the aircraft bounced twice, and when the pilot appeared to attempt to go around for a second landing, the plane veered to the right. The right wing tip struck the ground and caused the plane to flip and burst into flames, he said.
Hoppe said two workers at the airport witnessed the crash. One of them rushed to the crash in hopes that some of the passengers may have been thrown clear of the wreckage, he said, adding that the fire prevented any possibility of a rescue.
“It was an intense blaze,” Hoppe said.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration says the aircraft left Venice Municipal Airport in Florida for the airport in Macon County, about 75 miles east of the Tennessee state line.
The airport remained closed until further notice as investigators for the FAA examined the wreckage, and because there was debris on part of the 5,000-foot asphalt runway.
The exact cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known. Hoppe said the weather was mostly clear and there was no wind at the time of the crash.
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