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Plane crashes in Illinois moments after 12 skydivers jump; pilot killed

A small airplane crashed into a Taylorville, Ill., neighborhood late Saturday morning moments after 12 skydivers safely jumped from the craft. The pilot died in the crash.

NBC station KSDK of St. Louis reported debris from the downed twin-engine Beechcraft 18 was strewn across two to three blocks.

“There were plane parts everywhere,” Gloria Johnson, 61, who was unloading groceries from her car when the plane plummeted, told The Associated Press.

Family members identified the pilot as Brandon Scott Sparrow, 30, a longtime aviation enthusiast and aircraft mechanic. Sparrow was married and went to school at Western Illinois University and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Ill., KDSK reported. Brandon and Angela Sparrow had no children, KDSK said.

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Sparrow was struck by a truck while bicycling in Carbondale six years ago, family members told KDSK. He was in a coma for a time after the accident, but despite lingering injuries, he was able to climb back into airplane cockpits, they said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash about 90 miles northeast of St. Louis.

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