Investigation continues into deadly Kansas airport plane crash

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 31, 2014 2:20 PM

By Alice Mannette

WICHITA Kan. (Reuters) - The bodies of four people killed when a small twin-engine turboprop airplane crashed into a building at Wichita's airport remained in the smoldering ruins on Friday as federal officials investigated the crash, officials said.

A demolition contractor has been called in to make sure the Flight Safety International building is stable enough for crews to remove the dead, Wichita city spokesman Dale Goter said.

Pilots from around the world go to Wichita for initial and continuing training for Cessna aircraft in the flight simulators in the building that was struck Thursday morning by a Beechcraft King Air airplane that had lost power in one engine after taking off.

"They'll come out as soon as we can get them out safely," Goter said.

The airplane ripped into the roof of the building and set off an explosion and fire killing three people who were in a flight simulator in the building and the pilot, who was alone on the airplane. Safety concerns forced firefighters from the building on Thursday, where some walls and ceilings collapsed.

"There is still some smoldering on the roof," Goter said Friday, adding that parts of the building must be removed before crews can enter.

Five people were injured in the crash. Four were treated and released from a hospital and the fifth person, identified by family as Scott Mans, 39, was in serious condition on Friday at Via Christi Regional Burn Center at St. Francis.

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived on Thursday to investigate the crash. The NTSB held a briefing on Thursday night and planned a second on Friday afternoon.

The pilot reported losing power in the left engine shortly after taking off from the airport and the plane crashed as he tried to return, the FAA and NTSB has said.

Authorities said more than 100 people were believed to have been in the building, which was operated by FlightSafety International, a Berkshire Hathaway Inc company.

(Reporting by Alice Mannette in Wichita and Kevin Murphy in Kansas City; Writing by David Bailey)