Coroner: Two dead after plane crash in Monroe County

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — An ultralight plane crashed while approaching an airport and burned Thursday in a wooded area just west of Bloomington, killing the two men aboard, authorities said.

Both of the victims were adult males, Indiana State Police Sgt. Joe Watts and Monroe County Coroner Nicole Meyer said. The condition of the bodies prevented immediate identifications of the victims, and dental records or DNA will be needed to confirm who they are, they said.

“We don’t have any idea who these individuals might be,” Meyer said.

Autopsies were planned for Friday at the Lawrence County Morgue in nearby Bedford, she said.

One of the men reported a mechanical issue, possibly involving fuel mechanisms, to the Monroe County Airport tower before the crash shortly before 1 p.m., and received permission to land, Watts said.

“While approaching the airport from the north traveling south, the plane lost altitude and crashed into a small shed and wooded area behind a residence. The plane was immediately engulfed in flames and there were no survivors,” Watts said in a statement.

The joint investigation by state police and the Federal Aviation Administration could take weeks to complete, he said.

The plane was a Hurricane ultralight, FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said. It wasn’t known whether the pilot had filed a flight plan, but ultralights usually take short flights, he said.

Indianapolis-based FAA safety inspector Steve Burnham said officials did not know the plane’s origins.

Wanda Bennett told The Herald-Times she was mowing grass in the area when she heard a loud sound and saw plumes of smoke.

“It was a pretty loud boom and the black smoke was just terrible,” Bennett said.

Ellettsville Fire Chief Mike Cornman said firefighters were initially hampered by the terrain. “Some of the trees themselves were still falling,” he said at a news conference.

The airport’s control tower had asked the plane to report when it was three miles out on its approach but never heard back, Director Bruce Payton said.

Indiana University spokesman Mark Land said no one connected with the university was believed to be on the flight. He said university officials generally travel on larger aircraft.

 

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