Witnesses report 'fireball' moments after deadly plane crash at Casa Grande Airport

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- Two men are dead after a plane crashed around 11:30 AM Wednesday at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport.

The plane was destroyed, leaving behind nothing but a charred shell.
“I could just see the smoke billowing from something that had fallen,” said Charlie Barber just outside the airport.
“There was a large fireball and a lot of black smoke,” said Gary Couch, who was inside the airport at the time of the crash.
Another witness, who did not want to be named, reported hearing the aircraft’s engine, then not hearing it, moments before the crash.
According to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor, the airplane was a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air registered to a Tucson company. The two men on board were killed in the crash. Gregor opted not to provide further details until family members were notified.
According to Casa Grande Assistant Fire Chief Jim Morgan, the plane was landing from the west, heading in an easterly direction.
“The aircraft made a sudden ascent, then a sudden descent and crashed to the ground where it burst into flames upon impact,” Morgan said, “The aircraft was about 200 to 300 feet vertically in the air, then it made a hard left bank descending into the ground.”
Morgan said the airport, which does not have a control tower to communicate with pilots, is often used by flight schools.
The FAA arrived on scene Wednesday afternoon to begin an investigation. The NTSB is expected to arrive sometime on Thursday.
Gregor said it would likely take at least several months before investigators can determine the cause of the crash.