Cassidy Waigand – Journal Star

Two people died Saturday when a small, single-engine aircraft crashed on a stretch of Route 116 in Hanna City.

The victims, one man and one woman, have not been identified. Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said autopsies would be completed Monday. The man was conscious when first responders arrived on scene, while the woman was not, Harwood said.

The plane was a Mooney M20K, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident.

The aircraft crashed about 12:30 p.m. Saturday and stopped outside of Gil’s Supper Club. Harwood said people heard the plane sputtering above KP’s Wings and Fries.

Ron Gulley, owner of Coffee Can, was sitting in his restaurant when he saw the plane skid by and hit the corner of Gil’s. He ran outside, along with a first responder who was in his business, and saw the man and woman in the plane. He said the propeller and the engine had been pushed back toward the man and woman.

“It was just a mess,” Gulley said.

Ashlyn Barker, an employee of KP’s, said she was taking an order over the phone, and the restaurant had a line full of people Saturday afternoon. Then suddenly, the lights turned off and the phone disconnected. Her mother called to check on her, and Barker asked what had happened. Her mother told her a plane had crashed.

“I was like, ‘Wow.’ So we all went out there and saw it,” Barker said. “And then we saw all of the cops and the ambulances, and then we had to get back to work.”

Gil’s opened for business as usual at 4 p.m. Saturday, because the damage was minimal.

Firefighters and law enforcement were on the scene, closing a stretch of Route 116.