Two small plane crashes in Alabama and Michigan killed two people Thursday evening. A single-engine plane went down while landing near the Shelby County Airport in central Alabama, and an experimental aircraft crashed at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek city of Calhoun County, in southwestern Michigan.
Authorities in Shelby County’s Calera city said that a Cirrus SR-22 aircraft departed from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Alabama, and was approaching the county’s airport when it crashed and engulfed in fire, according to local reports. The pilot of the plane died and officials said no other passengers were on board the aircraft.
No details of the deceased pilot were available. Witness Max Brown said that he saw a black smoke and initially thought a local bank was on fire.
"I jumped out of the truck and ran over as close as I could get to try to help, but by the time I got there, the fire was too hot to get close. You could clearly see the figure of a man in the flames, and all we could do was sit and watch from a distance. It was sad. I wish there was more we could've done," he told Al.com, a local news network.
— Bob Conneen (@BConneen1) August 28, 2015
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) launched an investigation into the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will reportedly begin its inquiry Friday.
Meanwhile, officials in Battle Creek said that the experimental aircraft was facing difficulty just after takeoff, according to WoodTV.com, a local news station. The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the plane, reportedly asked ground control at the W.K. Kellogg Airport if he could make the landing after which he hovered at the airport to land. Thereafter, the plane reportedly crashed near the runway and caught fire.
The pilot was a man in his 30s and was bound to his home in Wisconsin, authorities reportedly said. They did not release his name and other details pending family notification.
Two runways at the airport were reopened after they were shut down for a few hours. FAA and NTSB will launch an investigation into the crash.
— WOOD TV8 (@WOODTV) August 28, 2015