The total number of fatalities remained unknown after a single-engine aircraft crashed into a multi-family home in New Hampshire, reportedly killing everyone on board.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed that just before 7 p.m. Friday, a plane identified as a Beechcraft Sierra crashed into a residence some 3,000 feet from the runway at Keene, NH’s Dillant-Hopkins Airport.
Local residents described the moments after the crash to WCVB and said how “that whole place was ablaze, it was engulfed–five minutes and it’s like, oh my God.”
Multiple First responders are on the scene of a plane crash and large fire as right now there is no word if anyone is injured inside the building or what kind of plane went down pic.twitter.com/q6irydYKHz
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) October 22, 2022
Plane Crash Keene New Hampshire pic.twitter.com/jYankqCe19
— FSX Aviation (@FSXAviation3) October 21, 2022
Keene Police Department Capt. Steve Tenney told Fox 25, “It appears most of the accident was in a barn area, so no one in the residence was hurt at all.”
However, a statement from the City of Keene did note, “There was a plane crash near the Keene Airport into a multifamily building near Hope Chapel. There were no injuries at the multifamily building. Unfortunately those on the plane have perished.”
“It was very scary, I mean, I was sitting in the chair and I heard the big bang and then the house shaking,” Robin Guimond told WCVB.
Footage from Hope Chapel’s surveillance captured the passing lights and sounds of the aircraft before it ultimately crashed, illuminating the images with the explosion and ensuing fire.
— WMUR TV (@WMUR9) October 22, 2022
“I just grabbed what I needed to grab to be decent, got outside and looked up. The roof was already in. It already spread all over the roof of the back of the house,” Scott Gauthier said. He also spoke with Fox 25 and explained, “It felt like I was standing by a bonfire, that’s how hot. I could already feel it.”
Captain Tenney went on to add, “At this point, the building is completely shut down due to the fire damage, and damage to the utilities.” The residents have been displaced until such time as the building is cleared for occupancy once more.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, out of 1,085 total aviation accidents in the United States in 2020, 205 were documented as fatal, resulting in the deaths of 332 individuals. Those numbers were down from 2018 and 2019 which saw 379 and 414 fatalities respectively after more than 1,200 aviation accidents each year.
Those numbers were also dramatically lower than the highest recorded data that documented 1,310 fatalities in 1970 following nearly 5,000 accidents, 641 of which led to deaths. Pilot error remains the leading contributing factor in plane crashes accounting for more than 53 percent of all aircraft accidents.
An investigation is underway by the NH State Fire Marshal to determine the number of victims from the crash and the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been brought in to investigate the cause. A Beechcraft Sierra is capable of carrying as many as six passengers.
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