Oct 31

Video Captures Wichita Plane Crash Scene

A small airplane plowed into the top of a flight safety center at an airport in Kansas after losing engine power on takeoff Thursday, killing at least four people, including the pilot, and injuring five others. Officials said they believe everyone in the building has been accounted for.

The Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane reported trouble after taking off from Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, about 9:50 a.m. (10:50 a.m. ET) and hit a two-story FlightSafety International building while trying to return to the runway, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The crash sent up thick plumes of black smoke that could be seen for miles.

The pilot, who was identified as Mark Goldstein, declared an emergency shortly after takeoff, telling the control tower, “We just lost the left engine,” according to radio traffic recorded by LiveATC.net. Another person — it remained unclear whether it was an air traffic controller or the pilot of another aircraft — said a few minutes later: “Looks like you guys got a fire going on.”

After a long stretch of silence, the tower reports, “We just lost the aircraft.”

Brian Youngers

One person was in serious condition at Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in Wichita, the hospital said. Four other people were treated and released.

Brian Youngers was in an office directly across the street, about 100 feet away, when the plane crashed.

“We heard a plane just buzz the top of the building and heard a big, huge crash — a bang. We immediately ran outside and across the street, and the building was already going up in flames. You could see part of the wing hanging off the building, burning, and the landing gear.”

Youngers said he ran to the back side of the building to see whether he could help and saw workers streaming out. Soon after, an airport police officer arrived and asked him to move away from the scene.

Jaison Podkanowicz, who works near the airport, told NBC News he heard a noise that sounded like “something falling off a truck” and then saw the airplane “just sitting on the top of the building on fire” as “black, hazy smoke” billowed from a gaping hole.

Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell said only the pilot was on the airplane. Valerie Wise, a spokeswoman for the airport, said about 100 people were in the FlightSafety building at the time of the crash.

Most of the building had been searched, but rescue crews could not get into one simulator room on the north end because of the danger that it could collapse. They were waiting for a structural engineer to advise them on the safest way to bring in heavy machinery.

FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were at the scene Thursday. Senior NTSB Air Investigator Leah Yeager told reporters the initial investigation into the crash was at a standstill because the building had not been secured and cleared for entry by Wichita Fire Department officials. Yeager said NTSB investigators had possession of the plane’s maintenance logs but had not reviewed them yet.

Image: Plane crashes into Wichita airportBrian Corn / Zuma Press

This is a breaking news story. Please refresh this page for updates.

Oct 31

Official at plane crash site: Bodies can’t be recovered until building is safe

Representatives with the National Transportation Safety Board met with Wichita police and fire officials as well as other authorities Friday morning to lay out a plan to remove the victims from the rubble of the now-unsafe FlightSafety International building.

The meeting was at an undisclosed hangar at Mid-Continent Airport, where a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air B200 crashed just after take-off shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday, police Lt. James Espinoza said.

The crash killed four people — including the pilot of the King Air, 53-year-old Mark Goldstein — and injured five others, four of whom have already been released from the hospital.

Authorities have not released the names of those killed in the crash. Goldstein’s family authorized the release of his name to the media.

Officials said Friday at a news briefing near the airport that it may take days before the names of the four people killed are officially released.

Three of the bodies are still in a simulator room in the FlightSafety building, Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said.

The building must be safe to enter before the bodies can be recovered, Crisp said.

Heavy equipment to “deconstruct” a portion of the building is expected to arrive at around noon Friday, Crisp said

The roads next to the crash site could remain closed for several days, Espinoza said.

Along with recovering the bodies, Crisp said, special care will be taken to retrieve parts from the King Air to see if they provide clues to why the plane crashed just after take-off Thursday morning.

Fire crews, who have been at the crash scene throughout the night, poured a fresh load of water onto the FlightSafety building at about 6 a.m. to help maintain the scene’s integrity for the sake of the upcoming investigation, Espinoza said.

Investigators may need to tear down part of the building to make it safe enough for search-and-rescue teams to remove those who perished in the crash, he said.

“It’s one thing to search a building,” Espinoza said. “It’s another thing to remove people.”

Three of the people killed in the crash were found in one flight simulator in the FlightSafety building and one on the roof, authorities said. Three of the victims lived locally, while the fourth lived in another country.

People who work at or next to Mid-Continent will be allowed to get to their places of employment, Espinoza said, but “they should make sure they have proper ID so they can get where they need to be.”

Two intersections at the airport remain closed as part of the investigation: Airport and Crossfield and Crossfield and Midfield.

Thursday marked the first time since 2000 that a plane crashed at Mid-Continent, officials said. Goldstein, a retired air traffic controller, was the only person aboard the King Air at the time of the crash.

He was en route to Mena, Ark., with the plane. The aircraft, which was manufactured in 1999, was owned by Beechcraft, according to a report from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The NTSB has asked Wichita-based Textron Aviation, which owns Beechcraft, to participate in the investigation of the crash.

Oct 31

NTSB releases report on Boulder plane crash

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