Officials in Mississippi have reported two fatalities from a plane crash that occurred this morning close to Tupelo Regional Airport.
Sgt. Michael Moody of the Tupelo Fire Department told CBS News that deaths had occurred.
The victims’ identities have not been made public. Neither the type of aircraft being flown nor the number of passengers on board are known.
Moody stated that more details will be revealed this afternoon.
Video posted on the news outlet’s Facebook page showed flames and black smoke rising from wreckage in a grassy field between the Army hangar and a fence surrounding the airport. The siren of a firefighting vehicle could be heard.
The crash happened at around 8 a.m., and the two casualties were later confirmed by Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka. Authorities have not released the names of the dead or a possible cause for the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, officials said.
According to Charles Johnson, a witness to the incident, he and his wife were travelling on a nearby road when they noticed the jet “banking in really hard” and “saw the plume of smoke.”
“I told my wife ‘That plane crashed,'” Johnson said. He said that he pulled over to see if there was “anybody I could help,” but said there was a “massive flame” in the debris field, causing him to realize there “wasn’t anything” he could do. Emergency responders arrived, he said, including National Guardsmen, and fire trucks were on scene within three minutes, he said.
Northern Mississippi’s transportation center is the Tupelo Regional Airport, which has been in operation for more than 65 years. On the airport’s website, flying lessons are also promoted.
Jackson, the state’s capital city, is around 190 miles away from Tupelo, which has 38,000 residents.