Small plane crashes on Hilo airport property, 2 critically injured

Small plane crashes on Hilo airport property, 2 critically injured

HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - A single-engine Cessna 172 crashed on the Hilo International Airport property Tuesday afternoon, just minutes after taking off at 2 p.m..

Three people were on board: the male pilot, and a male and female passenger. All three are adults.

"I was in the garage and all I heard was the twin engine plane going over," says eyewitness, Teresa Ahyo, "All of a sudden, I heard this loud backfire...and then like 5 - 6 seconds later, I heard the crash. And when I came out the plane was down in the grass."

The plane went down just inside the fence line.

"Fortunately it was not a remote area and the terrain was relatively flat as well so responders did not have any issues getting to the actual site," says Tim Sakahara, spokesman for the State Department of Transportation.

At last check, two were in critical condition and the other in stable condition. The two in critical condition were transported to the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, while the other remains at the Hilo Medical Center. Their identities have not been released, and it's not clear how the three are related.

Sakahara did not know where the plane was heading.

"It is a private airplane that is leased to another company, at this point, we don't know... if it was a tour or a charter plane."

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are continuing to investigate.

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