A small plane carrying two people crashed into the parking lot of a bank Wednesday near Chicago, killing one and severely burning the other, police said.
The crash occurred about 5:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. ET) at a branch of Chase Bank near Clow International Airport in Bolingbrook, southwest of Chicago, NBC Chicago reported. Bolingbrook police said the passenger, a woman, was killed.
A hospital spokeswoman told NBC News that a male patient, believed to be the pilot, was transferred by helicopter from Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital to Loyola Medical Center in Chicago with critical burns.
The plane struck a tree, a light pole and several vehicles before coming to rest in the parking lot, investigators and witnesses said. Fire crews used retardant foam to extinguish cars that were in flames; the plane was described as completely charred.
No other injuries were reported. Three cars in the parking lot were damaged, Bolingbrook Deputy Police Chief Tom Ross said.
A pilot at Clow Airport who witnessed the crash told WLS news radio of Chicago that the pilot was trying to land but ran out of runway.
The witness, who the station said asked not to be named, said the pilot pulled up, made a left turn and stalled.
"The loss of lift that low with full power is nearly impossible to recover from," the witness said.
Mike Grohar, manager of Andy's Frozen Custard next door to the bank, said he ran outside when he heard the crash.
The pilot "was on fire and went down to the ground, and two gentlemen came over and put him out with their jackets," Grohar told NBC Chicago. "We got him to roll away from the plane, and as he was rolling away, [he] asked us if we could find his wife, that his wife was still in there.
"He was pretty bad, but he was talking before the paramedics got there," Grohar said. "We kept talking to him and tried to keep him coherent."
Another witness, Arby Rivera, told NBC Chicago he heard "an explosion, a huge explosion, a loud one."
"I heard a loud boom, and I saw this guy burning," he said. "... The people from the bank grabbed some fire extinguishers and extinguished this guy."
Ziad Jaber of NBC News contributed to this report.
First published September 25 2013, 7:33 PM