A small plane crashed into the parking lot of a car dealership in southeastern Ohio early Tuesday morning, killing both passengers on board and sparking a large fire on the ground, authorities have confirmed.
The plane was identified by the National Transportation Safety Board as a Beech E-90 King Air utility aircraft, a model manufactured in the 1970s that can carry up to seven people and flies at relatively low altitudes. It crashed into the lot outside of a Pioneer Buick GMC dealership in Marietta, Ohio, near the state’s border with West Virginia, at around 7:15 a.m. local time.
The pilot and another occupant were fatally injured in the accident, the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Marietta branch said in a news release. No other injuries have been reported, although the crash damaged multiple vehicles on the ground as well as buildings at the car dealership, they said.
The two who were killed were identified by the Ohio State Highway Patrol as Timothy Gifford, 49, of Orient, Ohio, and Eric Seevers, 45, of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Gifford was a firefighter with the Columbus Division of Fire who had retired in May, according to CBS affiliate WBNS-TV.
Seevers and Gifford were the only passengers on board the small plane, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement to CBS News following the crash. The agency said it will investigate the cause of the accident along with officials at the NTSB, which is leading the ongoing probe and will be in charge of future updates.
Marietta Police initially responded to the crash on Tuesday morning along with local firefighters. The police department confirmed that the blaze was extinguished about two hours after the crash was first reported, and noted in comments to CBS News at the time that vehicles on the ground were badly damaged.
Buckeye Hills, a regional government organization, acknowledged the crash on Twitter and said its office in Marietta would be closed throughout the morning as a result.
“Please note that our Marietta office is closed this morning, Oct. 18, due to the plane crash and road closure on Pike Street. Our staff are working remotely and available by phone and email,” the organization wrote. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those involved, their families, and first responders.”