BY MELANIE BUCK –
An airplane heading to Rose Aircraft Services for paint and interior services crashed on its way to Mena this morning claiming four lives so far and at least 5 injured, leaving some in critical condition. The pilot, whose identity has not been released, appears to have been killed upon impact.
The Hawker Beechcraft King Air 200 was taking off from Wichita, Kansas when it lost an engine upon take-off and flew into the roof of the Flight Safety Simulator and Training Facility which houses Cessna Citation Jet Simulators across the street from Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport in southern Kansas just before 10 a.m.
The last communication with the pilot was about a minute after take-off when he reported an engine failure and was returning to the runway.
Crews are currently trying to determine if everyone in the building is accounted for. More than 100 people work inside the building.
Firefighters fought the blaze for several minutes before gaining control of the flames. Smoke could be seen billowing from the building from several miles away.
The two-story building has serious damage including a collapsed ceiling and walls. The search for missing people came to a halt after the building collapsed.
Keith Rose, owner of Rose Aircraft released a statement saying, “Our prayers go out to the families of the victims and those owning and operating the aircraft and facilities. No further information is available at this time out of respect for those involved in this tragic loss.”
Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived at the scene of the crash.
Stay tuned to The Pulse for breaking news as information becomes available.