The pilot of a small plane and his passenger were killed Tuesday when the aircraft crashed and caught fire shortly after taking off from a western New York airfield, authorities said.
The Cirrus SR22 was based in Oshawa, Ontario, and had stopped at an airport in Erie, Pennsylvania, before arriving at the Chautauqua County Jamestown Airport, where it was refueled, Sheriff James Quattrone said. The plane crashed about 10 minutes after taking off from Jamestown.
Witness James Mortimer told The Post-Journal of Jamestown that the plane appeared to be above the runway when it started to turn. He said it crashed seconds after he saw a parachute deploy. The small plane was equipped with an airframe parachute, the sheriff said.
“It banked really steeply, like it was in a bank. I said, ‘That’s not right. That’s not good,’ ” said Mortimer, who had been riding his bike in the area. “I thought it was gonna go down right there, but it straightened out again and it turned to the right and flew to the right. … Not even two seconds after it popped the chute it was into the ground.”
There was no indication the pilot called for help, Quattrone said. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, he said.
The names of the victims, both men, were being withheld until relatives could be notified, the sheriff said.