Central Illinois authorities report 3 dead in plane crash

The Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department says the pilot of the twin-engine Piper Aerostar reported having trouble with the plane’s instruments and with weather conditions prior to the crash.

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The lights of emergency vehicles can be seen behind rescue personnel as they stand along a gravel lane that leads to the site of an airplane crash near Springfield, Ill., Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. The Springfield Airport Authority confirmed that the plane went down shortly after 3 p.m. and was heading inbound towards Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport.

Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Three people were killed when a small plane crashed in a field southeast of Springfield, Illinois, authorities said Tuesday.

The Sangamon County Sheriff’s Department says the pilot of the twin-engine Piper Aerostar reported having trouble with the plane’s instruments and with weather conditions prior to the crash. Springfield Airport Authority executive director Mark Hanna says the plane went down around 3 p.m.

The plane was attempting to land at Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport in Springfield and missed two houses before impact, according to Hanna. The plane was headed to Springfield from Huntsville, Alabama. It originally took off from Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport in Florida, authorities said.

The identity of the victims haven’t been released by authorities. Also killed in the crash was a dog.

Christin Goldsberry told the State Journal-Register that he was in his home he heard “a loud boom.” He said he didn’t think much of the noise because a gun range is located nearby. He became concerned when he heard a second explosion and saw black smoke rising from a field.

Sheriff Jack Campbell says emergency crews were unable to immediately approach the crash site due to the resulting flames.

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