2 dead in airplane crash at Tucson airport

A small, private airplane crashed Monday afternoon at the Tucson airport, killing at least one person aboard, authorities said.

A twin-engine plane taking off from the Tucson airport crashed Monday afternoon, killing the two people on board, authorities said.

The crash of the Beechcraft 300 occurred at about 12:40 p.m. and resulted in a large fire near the main terminal. The plane was privately owned.

John Ivanoff, chief of public safety at the airport, said it wasn’t known why the plane crashed.

“It hit the ground, skidded for some distance before coming to a rest,” he said at a news conference.

Airport fire crews, assisted by the Tucson Fire Department and Air National Guard firefighters, put out the fire.

“I can’t offer a reason for the event. It’s only a few hours old and, therefore, we have a lot of work to do to find out why exactly this occurred,” Ivanoff said.

He said the plane was on its way to Mexico.

The plane did not crash into the airport parking garage, but hit a wall near the structure, the airport said.

Ivanoff said the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash. Federal Aviation Administration officials were on the scene Monday and NTSB investigators were expected to arrive Tuesday, Jan. 24.

The crash occurred shortly after takeoff, said NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss.

The NTSB usually releases a preliminary report of its investigation about one week after a crash, Weiss said.

A photograph posted on Twitter by someone at the airport shows a large plume of black smoke billowing above the airport’s parking garage. A video posted by another person shows burning wreckage against a wall on the tarmac of the airport.

The Beechcraft 300 is described as a twin turboprop airplane that has a crew of two and can carry between 6 and 14 passengers. It is commonly used as a corporate airplane.

The names of the pilot and passenger were not released as of Monday evening. Officials were in the process of notifying their relatives.

“We give our greatest condolences to the family members of the victims,” Ivanoff said.

There were no injuries on the ground, he said.

Commercial flights were not affected by the crash, the airport said in a tweet.

Ivanoff said it has been many years since a fatal airplane crash has occurred at the airport. A search of Star archives show that two people were killed when their small airplane crashed during takeoff at the airport on April 25, 1993.

Curt Prendergast, Arizona Daily Star | tucson.com

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