One killed in small plane crash at Smoketown Airport - abc27 WHTM

Lancaster County

One killed in small plane crash at Smoketown Airport

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The pilot of a small plane was killed Saturday evening shortly after takeoff from a Lancaster County airport.

Emergency officials said it happened at 5:45 p.m. at Smoketown Airport in East Lampeter Township.

"It was fully involved. Heavy smoke. Heavy, black smoke. A lot of lames," Chief Matt Bono of the Witmer Fire Department said. "You couldn't make the plane out. It's a very small plane and since it crashed into the mobile home, you couldn't tell what was going on. But it was pretty evident that we had a fatality."

Investigators said the two-seater ultra-light plane went down just after taking off. They are not sure what caused the plane to crash, but said there may have been a mechanical malfunction.

The plane crashed into a nearby un-occupied mobile home, killing the pilot. Investigators said he was in his early 30s and from Lancaster County. He was a licensed and registered pilot.

That was not the only crash at the Smoketown Airport in recent years. There was one in October of 2011, as well as a helicopter crash in May of 2012. Neither was fatal, but fire fighters said plane crashes are always dangerous to fight.

"A plane has aviation fuel. It's highly flammable. We use foam to fight a fire like that. On a call like this with the airport, we bring in a foam unit right away to assist us with the fire," Bono said.

The FAA is investigating to figure out why the plane went down.

A call to the Lancaster County coroner was unreturned Saturday night.

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