Aviation News

March 15, 2012

Business Jet Crashes Near Airport in North Carolina, Killing Four People [UPDATED]

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The plane went down in the southwestern corner of North Carolina

A business jet crashed and burst into flames at the end of the runway at Macon County Airport in Franklin, North Carolina, Thursday afternoon. Three people were on board and their condition was not immediately known

The Cessna Citation I/SP (N7700T) was arriving from Venice Municipal Airport in Venice, Fla., where it had taken off just before noon.

FAA records indicate the plane as being registered to a private owner in Venice, Fla. Records did not indicate the manufacture date of the aircraft, but said the current owner purchased the plane in 2010. Cessna ceased production of the five-passenger Citation I series in 1985.

Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said the aircraft was carrying a total of three people and suffered “substantial” damage. Photos from the scene showed the entire aircraft was completely engulfed in flames, leaving only a small field of debris.

Franklin Fire & Rescue officials said the fire was quickly extinguished, but it was not immediately known if anyone survived. The Western Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross said its volunteers were responding to the airport. “Initial services to be provided are mental health along with canteen services,” a statement said.

Bergen would not confirm specific details about the aircraft. “We are not confirming tail numbers until we know the conditions of the three persons on board,” Bergen said. “If they are fatalities, then we will wait until next of kin are notified before we confirm.”

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the cause of the accident.

New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson was killed in a crash of his Cessna I/SP in 1979.

[UPDATE 4:55 PM] The North Carolina Highway Patrol says four people were killed in the crash.

With BNO News reporting

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