WATERTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities say three people are dead and three others are in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital after their plane crashed just west of Capital Region International Airport near Lansing.
Investigators say the Socata TBM 700 single-engine plane was flying from Indy South Greenwood Airport in Indianapolis to the Lansing airport when it crashed about 125 yards west of Airport Road in a nearby cemetery, not far from the airport’s property in Watertown Township. Dispatchers were notified of the crash around 9:04 a.m. Thursday.
Clinton County Sheriff Larry Jerue said the aircraft was leased out of Indianapolis and was carrying a male pilot as well as a co-pilot and four passengers.
While authorities would not release further information about the victims’ identities, an Indianapolis businessman told Lansing NBC affiliate WILX that one of his employees from Patterson Horth Inc. was on the plane and is in the hospital. He said three employees from another company partnering with his business for a construction project in Lansing were also on the flight.
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Airport authorities said the airport’s control tower received an emergency signal from the aircraft, but it’s unclear if that signal was transmitted before or after the crash.
Jerue said the plane appeared to experience a very hard impact as it crashed, but the wings were still attached, the aircraft appeared intact and there was no fire on board.
Jerue said the investigation is “very active” and the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified about the crash. FAA investigators were en route to the site Thursday afternoon and NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. However, Jerue said there investigation into the cause of the crash could take days.
Conditions were misty and cloudy at the time of the crash, but investigators could not say whether weather was a factor in the incident.
Karissa Weight from the airport said no commercial flights are expected to be canceled by the situation, although there may be some disruptions while the aircraft is recovered.