3 onboard fiery plane crash in Phoenix - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

UPDATE

3 onboard fiery plane crash in Phoenix

PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Authorities said no one was hurt in a fiery crash at Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the single-engine Piper PA 28 was fully engulfed in flames after crashing during takeoff about 11:30 a.m. Feb. 4 at the airport at Seventh Street and Deer Valley Road.

"The plane was in the process of taking off, heading eastbound, when there was some type of malfunction," said Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

According to authorities, three people from TransPac Aviation Academy were on board and were able to get out of the plane after the crash before it burst into flames.

Russ Flory works next to the airport and saw the whole thing. He was outside on his cell phone when the plane crashed down to the ground.

"It flipped nose first, then kind of kicked over to its right," said Flory. "It immediately caught fire as the plane rolled and they were still in the plane as it caught fire." 

The CBS 5 News helicopter showed smoke coming from the small plane. From overhead, skid marks could be seen.

Flory said he did not expect to see three people walk away from the crash after the plane burst into flames.

"They were kind of rejoicing around each other," Flory said.  

The aircraft belongs to the TransPac Aviation Academy, a flight school with an office at the Deer Valley Airport.

TransPac Aviation Academy issued the following statement in the wake of the crash:

"One of TransPac Aviation Academy's aircraft landed off runway near Seventh Street and Deer Valley Road this afternoon.

"All three crew members evacuated the aircraft safely with only very minor injuries. The aircraft apparently suffered significant damage.

"TransPac is cooperating in full with the FAA and NTSB as they complete their normal investigation. However, Stephen Goddard, President & CEO, would like to acknowledge the fine job our crew members did in safely executing an emergency landing - something we practice and prepare for each and every day.

"'The safety and security of our instructors and students is TransPac's highest priority,' Goddard said."

A second incident reported a short time later involved a single-engine Beechcraft that apparently made a hard landing. No one was injured. The FAA is also investigating that incident.

This isn't the first incident involving TransPac Aviation Academy.

According to the NTSB, since 2009 the academy has experienced nine accidents - three of them fatal.

Last May, one of TransPac's planes collided with another school's plane just north of the Deer Valley Airport. Four people died in the mid-air crash. An investigation into how it happened is still ongoing.

In February 2011, a TransPac flight instructor and two students were killed when their plane slammed into Bronco Peak in the Tonto National Forest.

And in January 2010, a student pilot was killed when she flew her plane into power lines shortly after takeoff from Deer Valley Airport.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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