Two injured after plane slams into Columbus home, catches fire

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COLUMBUS, Ind. — Two people were hurt after a small plane crashed into a Columbus home Thursday morning.

Authorities said the single-engine private plane crashed into a house in the 2200 block of Broadmoor, prompting it to catch fire around 9:30 a.m. Lt. Matt Myers spoke on behalf of the Columbus Police and Fire departments, telling Fox 59 that the plane had just taken off from Columbus Municipal Airport when it went down.

Witnesses reported seeing a great deal of smoke and flames at the crash site. Witnesses told Fox 59 that the plane “burst into a ball of fire” when it hit. Myers described the scene as a “horrifying sight.”

“The plane is a single-engine aircraft. It’s privately owned, I believe. It’s stationed and based out of Columbus,” Myers said.

Two people were on the plane, said officials with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department. Myers said the plane struck the south side of the home. While that home sustained the brunt of the damage, neighboring houses also had damage from intense heat created by the fire.

The men on the plane have been identified as Dennis King and Gerald Clayton. According to officials at Wishard Hospital, both men are in serious condition. The men were transported from Columbus to Indianapolis after the crash; one was taken by medical helicopter.

Both have been transferred to Wishard’s burn unit. King has been upgraded to fair condition while Clayton remains in serious condition.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane is registered to Clayton. Officials said it’s a Glastar GS-1.

A woman on the scene who was renting the home told Fox 59 that she was inside when the plane hit. When first responders arrived, she had already gotten out.

Myers said King and Clayton got out quickly, which was fortunate because the plane went completely into the house and was fully engulfed soon after it hit.

“I think we’re blessed today that those pilots…those two individuals in that plane were able to get out,” Myers told Fox 59 in an on-air interview. “I think there are two individuals who are lucky to be alive. I think quick action by the first responding officers obviously helped with that situation.”

Authorities from the Federal Aviation Administration will arrive this afternoon to assist with the investigation.