A Cessna C172 aircraft crashed into the side of Sandy Ridge Mountain in Taylor Township around 1 p.m. Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed.
The FAA said the plane took off from University Park Airport and was headed to Burlington International Airport in Vermont.
The plane, owned by State-College-based flying club Psyfliers, was a fixed-wing, single-engine plane with four seats, according to FlightAware.com. The website also has the plane taking off from University Park Airport at 12:41 p.m. but shows its destination was Butler County Airport.
Daniel Christine Jr. said his parents, Kay and Daniel Christine Sr., were the ones who heard the plane crash from their home on Mountain Road and called 911.
“My parents heard a plane that sounded like it was having issues, then heard it crash into the mountain with a loud bang,” he said.
Because of the heavy fog that afternoon, Christine Jr. said his parents mostly heard, rather than saw the crash.
“It sounded like the fuel tank exploded,” Christine Jr. said.
Christine Jr. and his father then helped lead state troopers up the dirt road to the crash site, where he said they could see flames and debris.
The Centre County deputy coroner was called to the scene, but the number of fatalities has not yet been confirmed.
The area in which the plane crashed was heavily wooded, and rescue crews needed to use all-terrain vehicles to reach the site, firefighters on the scene said. They also used a drone to help pinpoint the location.
Mountain Top Fire Company assumed command, while Columbia, Bald Eagle, Neptune, Philipsburg and Port Matilda also responded, along with state police and EMS.
State police said the investigation has been handed over to the FAA. The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the crash, the FAA said.