5 die when small plane crashes in Indiana

Joe Watts
Indiana State Police Sgt. Joe Watts stands where a plane crashed in foggy weather in Bloomington, Ind., on Friday.Darron Cummings / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A small plane crashed while trying to land in the fog near Indiana University, killing the pilot and all four of her passengers, police said Friday.

All the passengers were males, and at least one victim was from Indiana, police said. Some were believed to be college students, police said.

Teary-eyed students were consoling each other Friday outside the university’s School of Music administration building. A university spokesman said he could not confirm reports that the victims were music students.

The single-engine Cessna disappeared from the radar shortly before midnight Thursday as it headed to Bloomington’s Monroe County Airport from Lafayette, about 90 miles to the northwest.

The pilot activated the airport lights from the cockpit but never landed there, State Police Sgt. Joe Watts said.

Several 911 callers described “the spit and sputtering of an airplane,” and the sound of “extreme acceleration unusual for a plane coming in for a landing,” said Mike Cornman, deputy fire chief in Van Buren Township. Some also reported hearing a loud boom.

The wreckage was found upside-down just south of the airport before dawn Friday, more than four hours after it disappeared. Rain and fog hindered efforts to search for the wreckage by helicopter, officials said.

Police did not immediately identify the victims publicly, pending notification of relatives. University officials were working with the coroner to try to identify victims, school spokesman Larry MacIntyre said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident, Cornman said.

Clouds were 100 feet off the ground at the time and visibility was about 1 mile, according to the National Weather Service.