MARION, Ind. – Two firefighters from Elwood were killed when two planes collided at the Marion Municipal Airport Monday afternoon, according to the Grant County coroner.
Authorities were called to the scene near 5904 S. Western Ave. shortly before 5:30 p.m.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the planes involved were a single-engine Cessna 150 and a Cessna 525 Citation Jet. The FAA believes the Cessna 150 was attempting to take off about 5:09 p.m. when it struck the tail of the Citation, which had just landed.
Officials say the Cessna 150 was carrying two people, who both died. They’ve been identified as 31-year-old Kyle M Hibst and 31-year-old David Wittkamper, both from Elwood. Both were also volunteer firefighters at the Pipe Creek Fire Department out of Madison County.
Officials say Hibst’s wife, Kim, is also a member of the fire department. He was also a father of a young boy. Wittkamper leaves behind a wife named Autumn.
“Chief Richard Shepherd is saddened by the loss of these two great individuals who have given so much back to their family, community and this fire department,” said the department in a press release. “The members of the Pipe Creek Fire Department are all at a loss as they come together to help each other thru this difficult time. Chief Shepherd is grateful for the outpouring of support from the emergency services in Madison County. Please respect the privacy of our firefighters, and the families who have lost loved ones tonight.”
The Citation had five people aboard. There’s no word at this time if any others were injured in the crash.
The FAA says the airport does not have an air traffic control tower.
“Pilots using the field are expected to announce their intentions on a common radio frequency and to coordinate with one another while on the ground and in the traffic pattern,” said the FAA.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is handling the investigation. Autopsies are planned for Tuesday.