PONCA CITY, Okla. – A community is mourning the loss of five people who perished in a plane crash in northern Oklahoma.
Around 10:40 a.m. on Saturday, emergency crews responded to a reported plane crash near Hubbard Rd. and S. U St., just outside of Ponca City.
Officials say the plane, registered out of Kansas, was leaving the Ponca City Airport to travel north when it suddenly lost altitude and hit the ground.
Henry Hercyk says he was mowing his yard when the plane flew overhead, and then he heard the crash.
“Just a few seconds after that I heard the impact of the plane, or I heard a loud boom,” Hercyk told News 4. “I stopped and looked around and I saw the fire and the black smoke coming from the east of us in the soybean field.”
Authorities say five people, including two children, were killed in the crash.
Officials say they believe Tim Valentine was the pilot of the plane. Friends also say that Bill Warner, his son Nicholas and two of Nick's children were killed in the crash.
"With immense sadness we have lost one of our own from Montgomery County Rural Fire family. Earlier today Sycamore Firefighter Nicholas Warner, 2 of his sons, his dad Bill, and friend Tim Valentine passed away in an aircraft accident outside of Ponca City Oklahoma. Our deepest Sympathies go to Brenda, Kaylee, Lisa, Jessica and their entire families and dear friends," the Independence Rural Fire Department posted on Facebook.
Bill Warner reportedly owned Warner Ag-Air, a crop dusting company in Kansas.
Friends say that Valentine was known for his generosity. They say he often used his airplane to fly wounded military veteran, cancer patients and Boy Scouts.
The NTSB is working to determine what caused the plane to go down.