A plane crash at Hammond Airport has killed two people, according to city officials. The incident was reported on Wednesday afternoon, at around 3:48 p.m., at the Louisiana facility off U.S. Route 190.
The twin-engine Cessna 421 private plane had experienced difficulties following take-off and only rose about 200 feet off the ground, it has been revealed by the Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson in an interview with the Associated Press.
It appears that, after probably facing engine failure, the small plane unsuccessfully tried a maneuver to return back to the airfield and make an emergency landing. However, as Mayor Pete Panepinto has explained, the pilot was unable to move past the nearby trees.
As a result, the Cessna 421 Golden Eagle nose-dived into a field approximately 300 yards west of runaway 18/36, at the northern end of Hammond Northshore Regional Airport, just outside the Hammond Industrial Park.
First responders from a fire station located on the airport property arrived immediately at the scene of the accident, in order to rescue potential survivors and to assess the damage.
Upon reaching the field, firefighting units confirmed that the plane was on the ground, wrecked beyond recognition and completely engulfed in flames. Efforts were taken so that the fire could be contained, and the rescue mission was aided by an ambulance helicopter.
As Hammond’s Fire Chief John Thomas has stated, two men who were on board have perished, following the impact, but their identities or ages haven’t yet been released to the public.
Moreover, so far no details have been revealed regarding the plane’s destination or its owner. Officials are also uncertain if the people on board had tried to send out a distress signal before crashing.
“The airport tower was aware of the situation, I can’t confirm if it was by radio or by line of sight, but I’m sure [the plane] was capable of radio, but whether there was anything transmitted, we don’t know”, added Thomas.
So far, information is sparse, as local authorities are currently on the scene, but it appears more details regarding the fatal accident will be provided today. According to eyewitnesses, the airport near Vineyard Road is still enveloped in smoke coming from the wreckage, but no one on the ground has sustained injuries.
A representative of the Tangipahoa Parish coroner’s office has also arrived at the facility, so that autopsies for the victims could be performed, according to the Hammond Star newspaper. An investigation will be conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration in order to establish with precision the factors that led to the plane crash.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and a Cessna representative are also expected to reach the scene of the wreckage today, so that they can assist in the inquest.
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