By Kayla Daugherty, Livingston Daily
Two people are dead after a small plane crashed Tuesday at Howell’s Spencer J. Hardy Airport, police said.
Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy confirmed that the crash occurred about 11:20 a.m. Tuesday. He said the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident and his office will assist.
Murphy said in a press release that the single-engine, four-passenger Aero Commander plane was attempting to land when it crashed.
The only two passengers on board were killed.
The FAA gave one piece of contradictory information about the circumstances of the crash, saying in a news release that the plane was attempting to take off.
Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokesperson for the agency, said such discrepancies aren’t unusual in the hours immediately after a crash and that what happened would be determined in the course of the investigation.
Steve Riper, who lives in next to the airport, said it “sounded like a normal takeoff for the most part and then it just got really quiet.”
He said he did not hear a crash.
The FAA promised to release the aircraft’s tail number once investigators verify it, but said it would defer to local officials to release the names of the deceased.
Officials closed the airport on Tuesday.
From the perimeter, onlookers could see a small plane that came to rest off a runway in a grassy area and appeared to have significant damage.
FAA officials inspected what appeared to be a tire several yards in front of the plane.
The plane appears to be registered with the FAA by an aircraft registration company in the United Kingdom. It is unclear who owns the plane.
The registration company, Southern Aircraft Consultancy, Inc., assists non-U.S. citizens with legally registering their planes with the FAA.
Officials left the scene around 4 p.m. with the plane still on the grass.
This is the first crash at the Howell airport since a six-passenger Textron 525C Cessna jet plane skidded off a runway upon landing in January 2017.
Peter Zeliff, a 60-year-old New York resident and CEO of the shoe company P.W. Minor, was the only person on board the jet when it crashed. He escaped the crash with back injuries.