2 killed after plane crashes near northeast Mississippi airport

TUPELO, Miss. — Two people were killed when a small plane crashed in northeastern Mississippi on Saturday, authorities said.

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The plane crashed near the Tupelo Regional Airport at about 8:30 a.m. CDT, WJTV reported.

Witnesses told the television station that the twin-engine aircraft banked sharply after taking off from the airport and crashed near water tanks at the nearby National Guard Armory.

Tupelo police Chief John Quaka confirmed that there were two fatalities but did not release their identities, WTVA reported. Officials at St. James Catholic Church identified them as Charles Montgomery, a hematologist and oncologist at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo; and pilot Patrick Fain, according to the television station.

Tupelo police and firefighters responded to the scene, WJTV reported. Firefighters worked to put out the blaze.

Charles Johnson, an eyewitness to the crash, told WCBI-TV that he and his wife were driving on a nearby road when he saw the plane “banking in really hard” and “saw the plume of smoke.”

“I told my wife ‘That plane crashed,’” Johnson told the television station.

Johnson said he pulled over to see if he could help, but said there was “a massive flame” in the field and there was nothing he could do, according to WCBI.

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