Virginia State Police say at least six people were killed when a private airplane caught fire as it was attempting to land at an airport in Fredericksburg, Va. on Friday afternoon.
The police have identified the victims, who are from Indiana, Kentucky and Germany.
“A 1969 Beech 95-B55 twin-engine, fixed-wing aircraft was attempting to land at the Shannon Airport,” state police spokesperson Corinne Geller said in an email to NPR.
Investigators have determined that “that the aircraft touched down midway down the runway and then executed a ‘go-around.’ As it attempted to turn and climb, it appeared to have stalled as it made it beyond the railroad tracks at the end of the airport property. The plane banked left, crashed in the trees and immediately caught fire.”
Geller said the deceased have been identified as pilot William C. Hamerstadt, 64, Robert D. Ross, 73, Lisa K. Borinstein, 52, Luke J. Borinstein, 19, Emma R. Borinstein, 15, and Maren Timmermann, 16.
The flight departed from Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday morning, and had stopped in Shelbyville, Indiana, before heading to Fredericksburg.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the crash and authorities have opened an investigation, Geller said.
The plane crashed near train tracks, where passengers on a passing Richmond-bound Amtrak train had a clear view of the wreckage. Tanya Aquino told The Associated Press that she saw “flames, smoke, several rescue vehicles and the remains of the plane just beyond the tree line.”
“When I heard there was a fire, it was such a hot day, I was hoping it was just a brush fire,” Aquino told the wire service. “It looked so terrible the way the plane had landed.”
Fellow passenger Shari Acree told the AP that “The plane was completely decimated and there was still some flame coming from it.”
Fredericksburg’s Shannon Airport is located about 60 miles southwest of Washington D.C.