A husband and wife were pulled from a small plane that struck the top of a Naperville health club Wednesday afternoon.
Husband and wife Lloyd McKee, 66, and Maureen McKee, 63, residents of Aero Estates, were rescued and taken to Edward Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The couple reportedly suffered broken bones and was listed in serious, but stable, condition at Edward Hospital.
"If you end up in a building in an airplane and you're still alive, that's a great thing. I mean, they're very lucky," said Mark Banovetz, board president of the nearby private airfield.
The McKee's plane, a Piper 32, crashed into the roof of the health club at 75th Street and Beebe Drive about noon after just taking off from a nearby airfield. It was bound for Pittsburgh when it crashed into the building’s top level basketball court. No one was inside the basketball court at the time, police said.
Fellow members of the airstrip said McKee was an experienced pilot and must have had some sort of mechanical failure.
"I know him to be an extremely conscientious and safety-oriented pilot," said Banovetz.
The health club was evacuated shortly after police and fire officials arrived on scene.
"We had over 280 people inside the building. Nobody was injured. We are very fortunate with that," said Naperville Police Cmdr. Mike Anders.
Cindy Monday, a trainer at the gym, was said it sounded like an explosion, much like weights and dumbbells falling.
She said she ran into the basketball court, and looked up to see a liquid streaming down from the ceiling. She said she thought it was water, but it turned out to be gasoline. That’s when members and employees inside the gym started yelling to get out.
Tassos Kalamaras, of Naperville, a gym member, said he always hearing planes fly low. Aero Estates, a private air field, lies just to the south of Xsport Fitness.
"Those plans take off from there and fly really over the building all the time," he said.
"I always hear those planes coming in so low and I always think one day ...."
The fixed wing single-engine plane was manufactured in 1977 and is registered to a Wilmington, Del. address for Airplane Holdings Company, according to an online FAA directory.