A small plane lost power right after takeoff and crashed yesterday morning while trying to return to a Kansas airport. Four people were killed, including the pilot, who was alone in the plane. Five others were injured, and a large fire was ignited when the plane hit an airport building.
The plane, a twin-engine Beechkraft King Air, crashed into a building used by the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport for training purposes, igniting a large fire. About 50 to 60 firefighters responded but had to be evacuated when the structure was deemed unstable, according to Wichita police. Four people remain unaccounted for, but Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp assured onlookers that the search will resume as soon as the building is secured.
Blackwell reported that the plane appeared to strike the top of the building, igniting the enormous fire. “Firefighters engaged in a horrific firefight for several minutes, and now we have the fire under control,” Blackwell said.
The decimated building, operated by Flight Safety International, was used to train pilots to fly Cessna planes, according to spokesman Steve Phillips. It is believed that more than 100 people were in the building when the plane hit.
The crash is merely the latest in a string of problems at the airport. In December, a technician was arrested after a months-long undercover operation when he tried to drive a van filled with explosives onto the tarmac. In January, an Oklahoma man rammed his pickup truck through a security gate.
FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said it is “too early to rule anything out” with regard to the reason behind the most recent incident. The FBI is investigating.