LAFAYETTE, La. (FOX) — At least five people were killed when a twin-engine plane with six people on board crashed in Louisiana on Saturday morning.
Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit confirmed four passengers and the pilot were killed in the crash, while one passenger survived and was taken to the hospital in unknown condition. A second person not affiliated with the plane was taken to the hospital with injuries.
Lafayette Police Lt. Scott Morgan told Fox News the incident took place at 9:22 a.m. local time after the aircraft departed from Lafayette Regional Airport.
The plane crashed in a parking lot near a Walmart and U.S. Post Office building in Lafayette, at the intersection of Verot School Road and Feu Follet – about a mile away from the airport.
Video and photos showed a trail of scorched and burning grass around the crash site in the city of Lafayette. A blackened car sat in the post office parking lot, which was carpeted with scattered tree limbs.
The fire department said in a press release that one vehicle on the ground was fully engulfed by the flames from the crash, which was quickly extinguished.
Two post office employees were also transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Their injuries were not immediately known.
Details on the reason for the crash were not immediately available.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was a two-engine Piper-Cheyenne aircraft registered to Cheyenne Partners LLC, based out of Lafayette. It had eight seats and two engines.
Information on Flightaware.com showed the aircraft took off from Lafayette airport at 9:20 a.m. and was headed to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport near Atlanta, Georgia, where Lousiana State University is set to play the Oklahoma Sooners in the Peach Bowl.
According to the site, flight N42CV reached a speed of around 192 mph and reached an altitude of 375 feet before crashing.
Gov. John Bel Edwards expressed his condolences for the “heartbreaking news out of Lafayette.”
“Please join @FirstLadyOfLA and I in praying for the families and friends of everyone affected by this terrible tragedy,” he wrote on Twitter.
Local media reported eyewitnesses saying the plane may have hit a powerline before the crash. The impact blew out some of the windows of the post office.
“I was right outside before the crash,” resident Kevin Jackson told KLFY. “I noticed (the plane) was low and smoking like hell. It shook my trailer.”
He added: “I knew something was bad. I went in my house, and all you heard was this massive explosion.”
KATC reported that the Walmart store on Pinhook Road was closed and evacuated. All businesses and nearby neighborhoods were without power after the crash.
It was not immediately known if there was a distress call from the plane before the crash. Federal investigations were en route to the scene.
The fourth-largest city in Louisiana, Lafayette had a population of about 130,000 according to the 2018 census and is located about 135 miles west of New Orleans.