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Private plane crashes just west of Muncie airport; 2 pedestrians, pilot injured

Private plane crashes just west of Muncie airport; 2 pedestrians, pilot injured

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — A small private plane has crashed along a pedestrian trail in a rural area just west of the Delaware County Regional Airport, the Muncie city government said Monday.

Chief Deputy Jeff Stanley with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office told News 8 that officers received a call around 10:26 a.m. Monday reported a small plane crash near the airport near Muncie.

Deputies arrive to find the aircraft crashed on the Cardinal Greenway pedestrian trail near Shaffer and Riggin roads.

Stanley says two of the three people injured were pedestrians who’d been walking on the trail when the plane crashed. He did not say how they were injured.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Stanley said. “(Imagine) you’re out doing some exercise and then you get hit by a plane.”

All three people were taken to IU Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. The pilot later was transported to a hospital in Indianapolis for further treatment, Stanley said.

Later, Tim Baty, director of the Delaware County Airport Authority, told a news conference, said the Piper Cherokee traveling from Bloomington crashed at 10:24 a.m. about half a mile (0.80 kilometers) from a runway approach at Delaware County Regional Airport, The pilot was the only person aboard.

A fire in the plane’s tail and debris was put out by nearby American Electric Power employees with fire extinguishers, Baty said.

The pilot was entrapped in the plane wreckage before he could be recued, Muncie Fire Chief Dan Burford said.

The names of those injured were not immediately released.

Crash reconstructionists at the scene say they believe the plane was flying in from the north-northwest, clipped a few trees, and then landed on the trail.

Officials did not say what caused the crash.

Travelers had been asked to avoid the area while crews were on the scene. It was unclear how long roads in the area would be shut down. Federal Aviation Administration investigators were on the way to assist in the investigation.