FAA: 4 people on board NC-bound plane that crashed into Connecticut building confirmed dead

North Carolina news

FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Emergency crews were on the scene of a fatal plane crash in Farmington on Thursday morning. Officials confirmed all four occupants of the plane have perished.

The FAA reported that a Cessna Citation 560X business jet taking off from Robertson Airport in Plainville crashed into the Trumpf building in Farmington just before 10 a.m.

Farmington Police say the first officers on the scene reported a plane struck the building and was fully engulfed in flames.

The plane was headed to Dare County Regional Airport in North Carolina with four people aboard. Officials confirmed both pilots and both passengers have died as a result of the crash.

Farmington police said witnesses reported the plane had trouble shortly after takeoff. The plane then hit the ground and slid into the building. Farmington police report there is evidence of some kind of mechanical failure during take-off.

Trumpf Inc. posted to social media that all employees who were inside the affected building have been accounted for with two injuries reported.

One of two people injured inside Trumpf headquarters was badly burned when the plane came down on the building. He is now in the burn unit in Bridgeport after first being treated at Hartford Hospital.

The wife of 47-year-old Stephen Johnson of Portland spoke with News 8 over the phone Thursday afternoon. Robyn says her husband has worked for the company for more than 20 years. 

She described how she found out her husband was injured: “My husband called me and told me not to panic that he was on his way to the hospital in an ambulance…He told me he was able to shield his face, but his back was pretty badly burned and the back of his head…There was this huge explosion and he was thrown and then he felt something hit him from behind and he got loose and just ran and that there was fire everywhere…I don’t even know if in the moment he knew it was a plane. I think all of a sudden there was an explosion and he was running from fire.”

Witnesses in the area recalled the chaos.

Joseph Gilberti works in a nearby building and added, “Our company felt an explosion — a rumbling — knew it was big, something big… All the Trumpf employees were congregated too and I was listening to them and they were talking about a fireball. They said the whole wall was on fire and that there was a fireball. How horrifying was that? To think that just a few degrees different trajectory and everyone in there is going to be incinerated is pretty alarming.”

We’re told there are a lot of chemicals in the Trumpf manufacturing building. Police say it’s a miracle everyone in that building is accounted for.

“Connecticut Natural Gas Company did mention only a few feet from this building, if the plane had struck that building back there, the explosion would have been enormous and we would have had a lot more loss of life here,” Farmington PD Lt. Tim McKenzie.

News 8 spoke with a man who says he was inside the building when the crash occurred. He did not want to be identified, but said, “It was scary. We all just panicked… I looked back. I yelled for everybody to get out. I was close to an emergency exit, opened it up, the alarm went off. We just had to do what we had to do to survive.”

When we asked if he felt God was with him this morning, he answered, “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

Governor Ned Lamont headed to the scene Thursday afternoon. He told News 8, “You still see the first responders who were here immediately.”

Robyn told us she has not been able to watch any coverage of the crash, that she is not ready to see that yet. She has been told her husband is in stable condition; she is scheduled to see him in Bridgeport Friday.

“I was sitting at home, heard all the ambulances, and came on my walk, it’s just devastating,” one woman told News 8.

News 8 spoke to an expert who said two pilots are required to fly this kind of aircraft. He says the Cessna Citation 560X business jet is considered to be a very comfortable and capable aircraft.

“First thought that comes to mind is, it was an aircraft malfunction of some sort,” said Mike Teiger, an active private pilot. “It’s an executive jet, the runway is 3,600 feet which is long enough for an aircraft to take off. Weather was not a factor. It was a very clear day, there was no difficulty as far as runway conditions,” Teiger said.

The jet is owned by Brook Haven Properties LLC in Camden, Delaware.

It is not currently known whether this particular aircraft has had mechanical issues in the past.

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