The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 18, 2014

BREAKING: 3 dead in private plane crash at Huntsville International

HUNTSVILLE — Three people aboard a Westwind II eight-passenger private plane died early Wednesday afternoon when their aircraft crashed on takeoff.

The airport was immediately closed to outgoing and incoming flights until after 6 p.m. Wednesday.

South County Line Road west of the airport was also closed as emergency responders from the airport, state, Madison County and the city of Madison worked the scene.

In a press conference following the crash, airport spokeswoman Karen Yarbrough said the commercial aircraft went down west of runway 1-8 right.

“Our regional mutual aid partners working with our emergency personnel are saddened to report as part of the emergency response that three individuals on the plane lost their lives,” Yarbrough said in a statement. “On behalf of everyone here at the airport, the Port of Huntsville, and our mutual aid partners, we are all very saddened by the loss of life.”

She said the plane was reported to be disabled and on fire before the crash.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Westwind II aircraft veered off the right side of a runway while trying to depart from the airport Wednesday afternoon.

She said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Authorities are unsure of the plane’s destination.

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