Plane Took Off Half-Hour Before Crash: Official

Friday, Dec 27, 2013  |  Updated 6:12 PM EDT
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A small plane that crashed in central Pennsylvania Thursday took off 30 minutes earlier.

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A small plane that crashed in central Pennsylvania Thursday took off 30 minutes earlier.

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The manager of a small central Pennsylvania airport says a plane that crashed into a field in a fruit-farming region outside Gettysburg, killing at least two people, had taken off from the airfield about a half-hour earlier.

Bloomsburg Airport manager Dick Sharrow told The (Bloomsburg) Press Enterprise that the owner rented hanger space last week for the twin-engine Piper PA30 Twin Comanche.

He said state police visited the airport Thursday to confirm that the flight originated there but asked him not to release the owner's name. Autopsies on the victims are slated Friday.

Trooper Rob Hicks said the 5:30 a.m. crash scattered debris over a quarter-mile area, and the plane- a Piper PA30 Twin Commanche - was destroyed. He said there did not appear to have been a fire or explosion.

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"Somebody had heard a plane that was possibly having some difficulty, but shortly thereafter they heard a crash," Hicks said.

"It just sounded like two automobiles going together. I figure it was just another wreck at the crossroads like generally happens, and it wasn't. I didn't know that until I saw all the fire trucks," witness Mike Wertz told WGAL.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the scene.

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