WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A pilot and three passengers were killed Friday after a small plane crashed shortly after taking off from an airport northwest of Detroit.
Airport spokesman Dave VanderVeen said the Cessna 172 went down about 1:40 p.m. Friday at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township. Three people aboard the private flight were killed instantly, while the fourth died later at a hospital.
VanderVeen said three of the victims were male and one was female but couldn’t identify them further.
“It’s a very sad day for the airport,” said VanderVeen, a county official who previously managed the airport for 25 years. He added that the airport’s last fatal crash was in 2006.
VanderVeen said the pilot took off from a runway designed for smaller planes and reached an altitude of about 100 feet before requesting permission to return. The plane crashed in a field.
The Federal Aviation Administration was en route to the airport and the National Transportation and Safety Board is expected to arrive Saturday.
Oakland County is the state’s second-busiest airport after Detroit Metropolitan Airport, which is in the Detroit suburb of Romulus.