RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — A small plane crashed and burst into flames just after takeoff from a regional airport outside of Cleveland, killing all four people on board, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The Cessna 172R crashed at about 10 p.m. Monday after taking off from the Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County Airport in Richmond Heights, about 15 miles northeast of Cleveland, the patrol said.
The patrol says the plane began its ascent, then crashed outside the airport and burst into flames. The occupants were trapped in the wreckage and died at the scene.
Mark Gerald, 45, said he was sitting on his front porch when the plane crashed nearby. He said he could hear the plane struggling, but didn’t see it until hit the ground.
Gerald told the Northeast Ohio Media Group that he and neighbors ran toward the plane hoping they could help, but it exploded as they approached.
“We thought we had (a chance to help them). It was too hot,” he said. “The whole fuselage was involved.”
William Honaker, 18, said he was driving nearby when he saw a “ball of light” and realized it was the plane on fire.
Honaker said he also tried to approach the plane, but onlookers warned him to stay away because of the intense fire.
“(The plane) was so mangled,” Honaker said. “I didn’t want to look at it anymore, to be honest.”
It was not immediately known where the plane was headed. The names of those on board have not been released.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board asked local authorities to secure the scene for their investigators.
REGISTER NOW for the 2014 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion taking place August 28- September 1, 2014 in Orlando, Florida! For booking information, call 407-248-9191.
(Photo Source: Thinkstock)