Breaking News : A small aircraft plowed into a flight safety center at an airport in Kansas after losing engine power on takeoff Thursday, killing at least two people and leaving five more unaccounted for, officials said. The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air struck the roof of a two-story FlightSafety International building at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita after reporting engine trouble around 10 a.m. ET, sending up thick plumes of black smoke.Smoke is visible from miles away.
“It was horrific,” Ronald Blackwell, the Wichita Fire Chief, said at a news conference just after 12 p.m. ET. Two people were dead, four others were injured, and five other people were missing, Blackwell said. He said only the pilot was on the airplane and that both people confirmed dead were found inside the building.
Five people were transported to Via Christi St. Francis Hospital, according to dispatch. One of the victims is in critical condition and three are being assessed, a hospital spokeswoman said.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft was taking off from the airport in Wichita just before 10 a.m. when it tried to return and instead hit a building. The flight was headed to Mena, Ark., according to FlightAware.
The FAA will be investigating the crash.
Traffic both ways on Kellogg is backed up.
Commercial airline traffic has not been disrupted, Mid-Continent spokeswoman Valerie Wise said. Southbound Airport Road has been reopened.
Brian Youngers, a witness, said he was across the street from the building talking to the manager of an avionics repair company, at the time of the crash.
“We heard this ‘vroom,’ ” he said. “It was way too loud, way too close. We were like, ‘Holy crap.’ ”
By the time, they reached the back of the building it was already on fire, Youngers said.
Victor White, the city’s director of airports, said officials were checking on possible hazardous materials in the building.
FAA investigators were at the scene and the National Transportation Safety Board was notified of the crash.