MARIETTA, Ohio (WCMH) — Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the moment a plane crashed into the parking lot of a Marietta, Ohio car dealership Tuesday morning, killing two people.
It’s a video one aviation expert said could play a key role in determining exactly what led to the fatal crash.
The video shows the plane, which flew out of John Glenn International in Columbus, falling straight down out of the sky before exploding into a fireball, killing 49-year-old Timothy F. Gifford, of Orient, and Eric S. Seevers, 45, of West Virginia.
Warning: viewers may find the footage below disturbing.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the plane was a twin-engine Beechcraft BE9L, a small plane that can seat up to 10 people. A spokesperson with John Glenn International Airport said the plane took off from its runways at 6:39 a.m. A RadarBox flight record indicated the plane was heading for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport in Parkersburg, West Virginia, before crashing around 30 minutes later.
Dr. Shawn Pruchnicki, a former plane accident investigator who is now a professor at Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies, points out the glow on the plane as it comes down and the smoke trail shows the plane may have been on fire in the air. He also said the angle of the plane means it was not in control.
“There’s several reasons why an airplane might do something like this and all of those will have to be examined, right?” Pruchnicki said. “Aircraft malfunction, pilot incapacitation. The fact the aircraft is on fire prior to impact can also lead down a certain path on why the airplane might have eventually become out of control.”
Pruchnicki said in addition to the video, investigators will be listening to the conversations air traffic control had with the pilot.
“The other thing you notice is just the angle,” he said. “How steep the aircraft is coming to the ground. This is not a controlled descent. This is an out-of-control aircraft.”
While Pruchnicki didn’t know either of the victims personally, he said his heart goes out to their families.
“This affects all of us, even though we may not know these pilots on a personal level,” he said. “We’re all part of one large family, right? We’re all aviators.”
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash. As of Tuesday evening, no cause for the crash has been released.