|(Photos courtesy of the Linn County News)|
The Kansas Highway Patrol said it happened about 4 p.m. in the woods at South Ross Lane near East 1175th Road in the Linn County city.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the crash involved a Zodiac CH601XL.
The publisher and editor of the Linn County News said the aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from a private airstrip. Jackie Taylor arrived at the scene about 4:30 p.m. to find the Kansas Highway Patrol and other agencies trying to put out the fire that had engulfed the plane.
She said it's a small community and everyone knows everyone, especially in the flying community.
“Everyone's freaking out that it's someone they know,” Taylor said.
Neighbors say they heard the crash and immediately feared it involved someone they know.
“My daughter was outside and she came in and said, ‘Did you hear that, mom?' She said it was like an explosion or a real high powered gun went off. It wasn't much longer after that we heard the sirens coming,” said Mary Jane Heiser.
Heiser's property is right next to the airstrip.
“It was really loud, it was almost like someone was coming up our road. Like a loud truck,” she said.
She said, while she's relieved it wasn't any of her neighbors who crashed, she feels for the family who lost loved ones so suddenly.
“You know the death of anyone is just not good. It's sad,” Heiser said.
The type of aircraft that crashed is a Zenith model - an experimental plane. It's a small aircraft that someone would build themselves. The FAA has to approve it and comes out to inspect it at various points during the building process, especially before the first flight.
A local pilot says it takes about a year or longer to build an experimental plane such as this type. She said they are very safe and not much different than an aircraft coming off the assembly line.
Pleasanton is located just over 60 miles south of the Kansas City metro. The Federal Aviation Administration is now handling the investigation.
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