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Four dead, five injured after small plane crashes in Kansas

Firefighters try to put out a fire at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kan., Thursday, after a small plane crashed into the building, killing four people, including the pilot. (Associated Press)
Firefighters try to put out a fire at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kan., Thursday, after a small plane crashed into the building, killing four people, including the pilot. (Associated Press)
Roxana Hegeman Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. – A small plane lost engine power after takeoff and crashed into a flight-training building at a Kansas airport Thursday, killing four people, injuring five others and igniting a fire that sent up towering plumes of black smoke that could be seen for miles.

Three of the dead were inside a flight simulator in the building at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport when the plane crashed into it, and the fourth was found on the roof and is believed to be the pilot, Wichita Fire Chief Ronald Blackwell said.

Five others were injured in the crash, and one of those was in serious condition at a hospital, Blackwell said. Officials said only one person was on board the plane and that everyone who was in the building had been accounted for. Identities of the victims were not immediately released.

The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air crashed into a building where FlightSafety International trains pilots to fly Cessna planes, company spokesman Steve Phillips said.

The FAA said the pilot reported losing engine power and was trying to return to the airport.

The plane struck the top of the building and ignited a horrific fire, Blackwell said.

The crash was “not an intentional act,” Wichita police Deputy Chief John Speer said. “We are comfortable in saying this is an aviation accident.”

In comments late Thursday, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Leah Yeager said the pilot reported a left engine problem soon after takeoff.

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