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At least four people are confirmed to have died near Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport after a light aircraft lost an engine during takeoff and plowed into a flight simulator building on Thursday morning.
Five injured people were transported to Via-Christi Hospital and four people are currently unaccounted for, including the pilot, said fire Chief Ron Blackwell.
By afternoon, one patient was described as being in serious condition, one in fair condition and three in good fair condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
The roof of the FlightSafety International building - which houses 100 people - burst into flames described as 'horrific' when the twin engine Beechcraft King Air 200 came down shortly after 10am.
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A small plane lost power after takeoff and crashed into a building Thursday while trying to return to a Kansas airport, killing at least four people
Plumes: Smoke billows from a building at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kansas on Thursday
Firefighters try to put out a fire at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita after a small plane crashed into the building killing several people including the pilot
Officials say at least two people are dead after a small plane reported losing engine power and crashed into a building at a Kansas airport
Only the pilot was on the plane, but it wasn't immediately clear how many people were in the building at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, Fire Chief Ronald D. Blackwell said. Four people remained unaccounted for hours after the crash, but a search was halted at midday after a portion of the building collapsed.
Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp assured onlookers the search would resume as soon as the building was deemed stable.
'We understand that this is a very difficult time, especially for folks who have family members who are working out here and they don't know,' Crisp said. 'This is also a very difficult time for first responders.'
Huge plumes of smoke that could be seen for miles around the city billowed in the aftermath of the accident.
'I would imagine that there was probably a bit of panic in the early stages of the incident. We are grateful at this point that a large number of people appeared to have gotten out at this point but certainly saddened by the loss of life and anybody who might have gotten hurt,' said Chief Ron Blackwell, Wichita Fire Department according to KSN.
Wichita Fire Chief Ronald D. Blackwell says at least four other people were taken to a hospital and five more are unaccounted for after the Thursday morning crash at Mid-Continent Airport
At least four people are confirmed to have died near Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport after a light aircraft lost an engine during takeoff and plowed into a flight simulator building on Thursday
Five injured people were transported to Via-Christi Hospital and four people are currently unaccounted for, including the pilot, said fire Chief Ron Blackwell
Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell speaks with the media at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita on Thursday
Emergency crews are on the scene at Mid-Continent Airport, and federal officials have confirmed the incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.
At least 50 to 60 firefighters from the Wichita Fire Department battled the raging fire.
The FAA said that just before the accident the pilot declared an emergency, saying 'we just lost the left engine'.
FAA investigators are now at the scene and the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the crash.
Emergency crews were headed to Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport after huge plumes of black smoke were seen rising into the sky
'The airport crews arrived first. Seeing smoke and flames and what appears to be a plane striking the building. Firefighters engaged in a horrific fight for several minutes. We have the fire under control. We are in the process of trying to determine if all the employees and visitors who may have been in the building are accounted for,' said Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell to KSN.
Brian Youngers, a witness, told Kansas.com he was across the street from the building when the crash happened.
'We heard this 'vroom,' ' he said. 'It was way too loud, way to close. We were like, 'Holy crap.' '
The turbo-prop King Air 200, able to carry ten passengers, was being flown by one pilot when it came down on the Kansas airport and fire crews described fighting horrific flames in the aftermath of the crash.
Crash: A huge plume of smoke billows out of the flight safety building at Wichita Mid-continental on Thursday
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro says a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air reported trouble just after takeoff Thursday morning
Ryan Weatherby said he and several other employees at Yingling Aviation, across the street from the airport, ran outside when they heard the crash and saw rolling black smoke and wreckage.
'It wasn't that loud. It was more like a screech or something,' Weatherby said.
Jay Boyle, who works at the airport as a senior field technical adviser, said he saw people standing outside and pointing, then spotted the crash site.
'I could see from a distance the cutout in the side of the building where it looked like a wing had gone through and you could actually see the aircraft landing gear through a hole in the building,' he said.
The crash did not appear to be significantly disrupting passenger traffic at the airport as planes could be seen taking off from other runways.
Located several mile west of downtown Wichita, a longtime aircraft manufacturing hub, Wichita Mid-Continent is used by private aircraft and served by several airlines and their regional affiliates, including American, Southwest, Delta, United and Allegiant. It saw more than 13,000 departures and about 1.4 million passengers last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Wichita-area broadcasters posted photos and video of the billowing smoke at the airport shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday.
Aircraft: The twin engined Beechcraft Super King Air 200 is capable of carrying up to eight passengers including the pilot