by Samiar Nefzi & Kari Barrows

ANDREWS, N.C. (WLOS) — One person was killed when a small plane crashed in Western North Carolina on Saturday.

A spokesperson with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol confirms with News 13 officials were dispatched to a plane crash that happened in a field near 3695 Fairview Road in Andrews around 10:45 a.m.

Officials say a single engine aircraft had crashed into a tree and caught fire.

The one person who was on board, the pilot, was ejected from the plane upon impact and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials say the plane crashed shortly after taking off around 10:45 a.m. The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office tells News 13 eyewitnesses shared they had seen the plane make a turn then start to descend.

“I hate it for the family. I’m sorry for them. They are in my thoughts and prayers,” Trooper Hal Robertson with the State Highway Patrol said.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol, along with other agencies, remained on scene until an FAA investigation team arrived.

Tommy Lands of Cherokee County told News 13 he witnessed the aircraft crash.

“Me and my wife were outside on the other side of the house and heard an airplane going over,” said Lands. “We heard [it] backfire, limbs breaking, crash. We came running around the house just in time to see a big ball of flames go up.”

Lands lives across the road from where the crash happened.

“We couldn’t get over there to help the person,” Lands said. “It tore me and my wife up. There was nothing we could do. We were helpless.”

A statement from the National Transportation Safety Board to News 13 reads, in part:

The preliminary information available currently is that a Homebuilt Velocity aircraft impacted a field on departure from Western Carolina Regional Airport near Andrews, North Carolina

The Federal Aviation Administration released the following statement to News 13:

A single-engine Velocity crashed in a field near Andrews, North Carolina, around 10:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, April 15. Only the pilot was on board.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide any updates.

Officials are working to inform next of kin. No other information has been released at this time.