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Charter plane erupts in flames after crashing in Tampa, 3 taken to hospital

Posted at 2:05 PM, Dec 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-18 23:34:05-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Three men who suffered second and third-degree burns were transported as trauma alerts after a charter plane crashed in Tampa on Friday.

The Tampa Police Department said the plane crashed at the corner of North Ward Street & West Laurel Street, which is about a mile from its intended destination of Tampa International Airport.

"It’s just fascinating that they were able to walk away from that and not damage any other structures or people on the ground," said Tampa Fire Rescue spokesperson Jason Penny.

During a press conference, Eddy Durkin with the Tampa Police Department said they started receiving reports of a plane crash shortly before 1:30 p.m.

3 transported as trauma alerts after small plane crash in Tampa | Press Conference

Durkin said an officer nearby arrived on the scene within two minutes. Upon arrival, the officer found the Piper Cherokee 140 fully engulfed in flames and three adults outside of the plane.

The pilot, according to Durkin, reported emergency engine failure to the tower before crashing.

A Tampa International Airport official said the plane was coming from Zephyrhills and heading to the airport.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the charter plane is registered to Lagrand Aviation, based in Brooksville.

The three adult men, ages 58, 24 and 23, were transported to Tampa General Hospital as trauma alerts.

"They are currently listed in critical, but stable, condition," Durkin said. "All suffered second to third-degree burns. Two of the occupants sustained broken bones. The third occupant is still being medically evaluated."

The plane clipped a power pole during the emergency landing, causing power outages for nearly 200 TECO customers, according to the company.

Leonardo Dominguez was working in a nearby building when he heard the aircraft crash, narrowly avoiding several buildings occupied by people.

"Big balls of flame where the plane had crashed and once we noticed that they were removed from the plane we decided to back off because the explosion was getting bigger and bigger," said Dominguez.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will take the lead in the investigation to determine the cause of the crash.