Recovery efforts underway at Ohio jet crash site
A mass-fatality team will begin working to recover the bodies of victims and sift through the wreckage of a small business jet that crashed into an apartment building in northeast Ohio.
Investigators on Wednesday will attempt to determine why the jet whose owner said was carrying nine people crashed into the Akron apartment building with a huge bang, shaking furniture in homes several blocks away and leaving behind fiery debris.
The Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and other state and local officials planned to hold a news conference around noon Wednesday at the crash site.
Authorities said no one aboard the 10-seat Hawker H25 jet survived on Tuesday afternoon, but they would not confirm the number of people on the plane. Earlier they said there were at least two deaths. No one was inside the four-unit apartment building or another home that caught fire, said Lt. Sierjie Lash, an Akron fire department spokeswoman.
Plane owner Augusto Lewkowicz said two pilots and seven passengers were on the flight. He said he had talked to investigators and was trying to contact the families of the victims.
The jet took off from Dayton and planned to land at Akron Fulton International Airport, about 2 miles from where it crashed. Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Haymaker said it clipped utility wires on the way down and crashed into the building, which was destroyed by a subsequent fire. The plane then hit an embankment beyond the building, causing a nearby house to also burn.
The plane burst into flames and disintegrated after impact.
There were no reports of any injuries on the ground, Haymaker said.
Witnesses said they heard explosions when the plane hit.
Carrie Willis lives several blocks away.
"I heard a big bang, and my couch shook twice," Willis said.
Another witness, Roberta Porter, lives about a block away from the Akron crash site. She was driving home when she saw the plane crash into the building and burst into flames.
"This plane just dropped out of the sky, veered and crashed into the apartment building," Porter said.
She said it's scary to think that if she had been driving faster the plane might have clipped her car.
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