Jet with 4 people aboard crashes into Connecticut building, bursts into flames

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FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A small plane with four people aboard crashed Thursday morning on takeoff in central Connecticut and hit a building.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported that a Cessna Citation 560X business jet taking off from Robertson Airport in Plainville crashed into a building at the Trumpf Inc. manufacturing company in Farmington around 10 a.m.

The plane was headed to Dare County Regional Airport in North Carolina. There was no immediate word on the extent of the injuries to the people aboard the plane.

Farmington police said witnesses reported the plane had trouble shortly after takeoff. The plane then hit the ground and slid into the building.

“There was some type of trouble in the air,” said Farmington Police Lt. Tim McKenzie. He said an intense fire burned for over 20 minutes.

Police officials said all Trumpf employees were accounted for and that they do not believe any employees were injured.

Gov. Ned Lamont arrived to tour the damage. “It’s a pretty tough day here in Connecticut,” he said, adding that first responders arrived at the scene “immediately and there was nothing left, just a ball of fire.”

Caleb Vaichaus, who works near the crash site, said he ran to the scene after hearing a loud explosion and seeing billows of black smoke from the Trumpf building.

“As I got even closer I saw pieces of what looked like fuselage, metal, strewn throughout the road over here and in the grass over here,” he told WTIC-TV. “I ran straight toward it to see if I could help. I got as close as I possibly could and the flames were extremely hot and the fire was just getting bigger. It kind of looked like you could see the tail of the airplane sticking out. So any passengers or any movement, I couldn’t see anything like that in the area.”

Police urged residents to avoid the area so emergency crews could evacuate it.

According to Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City, Executive Minister Rev. Randy Shrauner lost his son, Will, as well as his daughter-in-law, Courtney, and her unborn child in the crash.

I am grieved to let you know that earlier today our youngest son Will, his wife Courtney, and their unborn daughter were killed in a plane crash in Connecticut. The details are sparse at the moment, but it appears there was a mechanical issue during takeoff which proved to be unrecoverable. 

Words simply fail at the moment, but I wanted you to be informed. Please hold our family, Tim and Nancy Haviland (Courtney’s family), and the families of their two pilots who also perished, in your prayers.

In Christ,

Rev. Randy Shrauner
Executive Minister
Church of the Servant, United Methodist

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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