Witness: Explosion in air before plane crashed in Gary
By Christin Nance Lazerus Sun-Times Media email@example.com October 3, 2012 7:22PM
Updated: November 5, 2012 11:49AM
A small plane flying from Tennessee to Gary/Chicago Regional Airport crashed in the woods near a Gary charter school, killing two people aboard Wednesday morning.
It’s unclear if more than two were aboard the 4-seat Cirrus SR22, which went down around 11:20 a.m., scattering debris and bursting into flames about two miles south of the airport.
The pilot, killed in the crash, apparently did not radio in a distress signal, officials said.
Delores Hinton, who lives about a block from the crash site, said she was outside working on her car when she heard an explosion and then saw the plane go down. “It exploded in the air right up over my house. I said, ‘What was that?’ The next thing I know, it was down,” she said. About two blocks away, Luther Jackson said he was in his home when he felt what he described as “thud that was strong enough where it kind of rattled the windows a little bit.” “Then when I went to the door and opened the door I saw a plume of smoke and then I heard sirens,” he said.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the plane was coming from Smyrna, Tenn. The people killed were from Tennessee, but Freeman-Wilson declined to release their names.
John Black with the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority told The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro, Tenn., that the plane arrived in Smyrna Tuesday night and left Wednesday morning. It did not originate in Smyrna. The plane was registered to Gandy Air of St. Augustine, Fla.
Anthony McClinton, a Gary Fire Department division chief at the airport, said neither radar or the airport received a distress signal.
Concerned parents of students at the charter school lined the sidewalks near the intersection of Clark Street and 7th Avenue. Several people said they received a call from the school letting them know students were safe and they would be released at the normal time of 1:45 p.m.