A group of five passengers on board a small plane headed out of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, passed away midday Wednesday after the plane went down next to a 3M plant just a few minutes after takeoff.
The plane was slated to head out to John Glenn International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, with a cargo of five employees –including the pilot — from the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH), a group known to aid in large-scale emergency disaster recovery.
“We are incredibly saddened to report the loss of our Little Rock colleagues,” expressed the senior vice president of CTEH Dr. Paul Nony. “We ask everyone to keep the families of those lost and the entire CTEH team in their thoughts and prayers.”
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) explained to local media outlets that they would, alongside the National Transportation Safety Board, make sure to fully investigate the crash.
One spokesperson for CTEH explained that the employees were officially responding to the events that took place at the I. Schumann and Company Metals Plant in Bedford, Ohio, in the wake of the massive explosion and subsequent fire which took place this past Monday, and resulted in the death of a maintenance worker and the hospitalization of thirteen others with serious injuries.
“An explosion of unknown origin struck our Bedford, Ohio, facility today resulting in injuries to employees and significant damage to the facility,” stated I. Schumann & Co. ijn a release, as reported by WOIO-TV, a local affiliate for CBS. “Our efforts now are focused on supporting the first responders who came on scene quickly to help our employees.”
“We intend to cooperate with OSHA and other officials in their investigation as we search for answers in this tragic accident,” expressed I. Schumann’s in their release. “We are working with our employees regarding their needs while the facility is idle and hope to have clarity on our operations in the near future.”
Local authorities have not announced whether or not they have discovered the cause of the horrific explosion that took place.
Flocks of news helicopters sitting over the scene at the time of the accident spotted the fire and massive plumes of dark smoke pouring out of the building, which was reportedly fully contained by firefighters.
A number of videos that ended up being posted to social media highlighted debris scattered all around the scene and a number of fire-damaged cars closeby.