Two people were killed when a small plane plummeted to the ground and burst into flames outside Milwaukee's Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport Wednesday evening.
Emergency responders received initial calls of a crash on the Wisconsin city's northwest side just after 6 p.m. Witnesses reported seeing a single-engine plane engulfed in flames.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner was placed on standby soon after as firefighters and police crews worked to put out the blazing aircraft and clear the intense clouds of black smoke that blanketed the scene. The medical examiner then confirmed two fatalities.
Officials said the fatal crash unraveled as the flight was approaching the airport about five miles north of downtown Milwaukee, although the flight’s manifests do not indicate Timmerman Airport was the intended destination.
Audio tapes released late Wednesday from a website monitoring air traffic interaction revealed the pilot had communication with the control tower right before landing, but it is still unknown what ultimately sent the plane crashing down.
In the tapes the male pilot can be heard announcing the plane is approaching Runway 33 before being cleared to land.
A chopper pilot from NBC Chicago’s affiliate station in Wisconsin reports the plane was doing what they call a “go around,” which signals to the control tower that an approach or landing is not working out.
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It was near a residential area by Appleton Avenue – just blocks from the airport located in the 9300 block of the same street – where the plane took an untimely turn and plummeted to the ground.
While weather had been clear in the area, there had been previous reports of high winds.
In the same tapes someone aboard the plane on the air traffic control frequency can be heard asking for a wind check just moments before the devastating crash.
By the end of the night Wednesday the only evidence left of the deadly accident that could be seen was a portion of the plane’s tail and an area of charred grass.
Both autopsies for the two killed are scheduled for Thursday, officials said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is working with the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the crash.