Kansas airport crews have started to begin working on Friday to recover victims of the small Kansas plane that hit a Flight Safety building at the Wichita Airport Thursday. It struck the top of the flight center after its engine lost power during takeoff on Thursday. It had been reported that four people were killed and five were injured. Everyone else has been accounted for, stated Kansas law enforcement.
The plane was a Beechcraft King and it conveyed that it was having trouble after taking off from an airport in Wichita about 10 a.m. CDT. It plowed into the two-story safety building while attempting to come back to the runway, stated the Federal Aviation Administration. Late Thursday night there was still smoke rising from the scene of the crash
Brian Youngers was located in a building that was across the street, around 150 feet away, when the plane went down. He stated that he heard the plane graze across the top of the building and then heard a large crash. He said that he and other individuals hurried outside and ran to the Flight Safety building. They noticed that the structure was already starting to catch on fire. Youngers explained that there was a piece of the wing that was hanging from the building. It and the landing gear were both burning.
Wichita, Kansas Fire Chief Ron Blackwell noted that the pilot was the only person on the plane. An airport spokesperson stated that roughly 100 people were inside the Flight Safety building when the plane struck it. The majority of the structure was gone through, but due to danger of collapse, the firefighters were pulled out and could not search any longer. They had to wait until Friday and the help of a structural engineer to aid them in what type of large machinery would be the best to use to get into the building.
Several different pieces of heavy equipment were brought to the site Friday morning and at daybreak parts of the construction began to be torn down That way, emergency crews would be able to get to the victims wherever they happened to be located, explained Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell. It was believed that the teams would be at the scene of the crash for at least two or three days.
FAA investigators were on the scene on Thursday and the NTSB had also arrived.One of their inspectors stated that the pilot complained of a problem going on with the left side engine of the twin-engine plane not long after he took off out of the airport. It was also stated that pilots have certain procedures to follow in order to land when they only have one engine. The NTSB is attempting to find out why the pilot did not try to use these procedures.
Kansas firefighters had to fight the blaze around 30 minutes before they got it out. The ceilings and a couple of walls collapsed overnight, stated the airport spokesperson. As of Friday, all other flights are proceeding as usual, and all roads to the airport have been reopened to all regular traffic.
By Kimberly Ruble
Photo by Erik Brouwer – Flickr License