NORTH HAMPTON, N.H. — Federal investigators are expected at the scene of a small plane crash in North Hampton, New Hampshire, that killed the pilot and a passenger.
Authorities say the plane was attempting to take off from Hampton Airfield on Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was registered to a Kingston man. Kingston officials confirmed the pilot was 77-year-old David Ingalls. They said the 2013 town report was dedicated to him for his more than 30 years as a member of Kingston’s Conservation Commission.
The Portsmouth Herald reports state Rep. Ken Weyler of Kingston said the passenger was Bruce Anderson. He said Anderson owned a tree service and had just retired.
The plane crashed about a football field’s length from the Airfield Cafe.
An official with the Rockingham County sheriff’s office confirmed that the crash, which happened around 10:50 a.m., resulted in two fatalities.
“It dropped, just dropped out of the sky,” said Bob Lamothe, 52, of Hampton, who was at the airfield for an event when the plane crashed. “It was surreal. At first, I couldn’t believe I saw what I just saw.”
Officials say the Cessna 180 crashed into woods near the airfield.
Lamothe said the takeoff looked normal until the nose of the plane suddenly “went up at a very severe angle” before losing speed, overturning, and falling to the ground. He likened the sound of the crash to an electrical transformer explosion, and said he heard a bang and a crack. Afterward, he said he could smell leaking fuel.
“The plane was almost unrecognizable as an aircraft. It was so crashed in on itself the only thing that was recognizable was the tail,” Lamothe said.
The crash happened during the airfield’s annual Labor Day ‘‘flour bomb drop,’’ a competition in which participants pass over the runway and drop small sacks of flour over a target.
But an official at the Hampton Airfield said she did not believe the Cessna was a part of that event.
Many people who were in attendance for the competition ran to the downed plane to help.