TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A cargo plane crashed into a truck repair lot just short of the runway at an Ohio airport, killing both people aboard the aircraft Wednesday and narrowly missing a major highway, authorities said.
The fiery wreck burned about a half-dozen unoccupied semitrailers, but no one on the ground was injured in the early morning crash east of Toledo Express Airport.
The Convair CV-440 was carrying auto parts when it went down on a lot filled with truck cabs and trailers, near a U.S. Army Reserve Center and alongside the Ohio Turnpike, a busy toll road that connects the East Coast with Chicago.
Amid the smoldering wreckage and mangled trucks, a large piece of the twin-engine plane was visible from the highway. By midmorning, no flames were visible as firefighters occasionally sprayed water on the site, which is not near any homes.
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“We got very lucky where it happened,” said Brian Rozick, fire chief at the Ohio Air National Guard base at the airport.
They had no advance warning of a problem and were notified about the crash by the airport control tower, he said.
Officials couldn’t yet confirm whether any distress call was made from the aircraft, said Joe Rotterdam, manager of airline affairs for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
The victims were identified as Douglas Taylor, 72, and Donald Peterson Sr., 69, both of Laredo, Texas, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The plane was owned by Barker Aeromotive Inc., which operates out of Laredo.
Officials said the plane left Texas on Tuesday and stopped outside Memphis, Tennessee, before heading to Ohio. It crashed around 2:37 a.m.
Millington-Memphis Airport said the plane stopped for about an hour late Tuesday, taking on 700 gallons (2,650 liters) of fuel before departing, said executive director Roy Remington. No problems were reported with the aircraft, he said.
It’s not clear if there is a so-called black box with recorded data about the flight, Rotterdam said.
The National Transportation Safety Board along with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Ohio State Highway Patrol were helping with the investigation.
Toledo Express Airport remained open after the crash.
Associated Press writers Kantele Franko and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus, Ohio, and Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee, contributed to this report.