SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) - Virginia State Police and federal investigators are working to determine what caused a small, private plane to crash near a Spotsylvania airport Friday afternoon, claiming the lives of six people on board.
During a press conference Friday evening, state police confirmed the grim news that six people, all from out-of-state, were found in the plane's wreckage near Shannon Airport.
According to VSP, the aircraft was attempting to land at the airport when it came to the end of the runway and pulled back up. Authorities added that the plane made it beyond the railroad tracks at the end of the airport property, banked left and struck a tree line.
Police said the plane crashed into the trees and immediately caught on fire.
The six bodies have been taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for positive identification.
As the investigation begins, both the NTSB and FAA have been notified.
The Spotsylvania Fire Department initially responded to the crash site about five miles outside of Fredericksburg around 12:30 p.m.
Those train tracks near the airport carried an Amtrak train, with passengers witnessing the moments right after the plane went down.
"Everyone jumped to a window when they saw plumes of smoke and flames like 25 feet into the air," Amtrak train passenger Tanya Aquino said in an interview Friday. "And as we rolled by, you could actually see parts of the plane, white pieces of metal strewn about the ground."
After seeing the scene from her train, Aquino said her heart sank for those who could not escape.
"I said, 'I want to pray for these folks,' to the lady next to me. And she expressed the same sentiment."
Closer to the scene of the deadly crash, longtime Fredericksburg resident Douglas Ervin was devastated by the news.
"The only thing you can say is it's just a shame," Ervin said. "We saw it on the news. We thought we would come take a look."
Officials said they are still in the process of notifying next of kin.
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