UPDATE: Officials Begin Removing Debris From West Wichita Plane Crash
Updated Monday, Sept. 28, at 10:23 a.m.
Federal aviation investigators are removing debris from Friday’s deadly plane crash in west Wichita.
The pilot, Aaron Waters of Parker, Colorado, was killed when his plane went down in a densely populated neighborhood.
Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell says it’ll likely take several days to remove all the parts and pieces of the Cessna 310 from the crash site.
Witnesses say the plane went down nose-first into a creek between two houses in a neighborhood near the intersection of Maple and Maize roads.
Blackwell credits the pilot for saving lives on the ground.
"I believe Mr. Waters likely died a hero," Blackwell says. "This is a densely populated neighborhood. There was an opportunity for there to be a lot of property damage and destruction and that didn’t occur."
Blackwell says the pilot had just left Eisenhower National Airport en route to Colorado when he asked to return because there was a problem.
The plane never made it back.
The Wichita Police Department is assisting with officials from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board with the investigation.
This story originally aired during a Friday newscast. It was updated at 9:16 a.m. Saturday.
Federal aviation investigators were at the scene of a fatal plane crash in west Wichita Saturday morning to continue investigations into the incident.
Wichita fire officials say a Cessna 310 crashed shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday. It went down in the neighborhood near the intersection of Maple and Maize roads.
The pilot, identified Saturday morning as Aaron Waters, from Parker, Colo., was killed. He was the only occupant on the plane.
Witnesses say the plane did a nosedive straight into a creek between two houses.
Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell says the crash came within 25 feet of a garage.
"We were very fortunate that that did not happen. We've received witness reports that the aircraft, as it crashed, came straight down, and those things will be determined as the investigation moves forward," he told reporters Friday.
Blackwell says there was significant damage to the plane, and the debris field is compact.
Blackwell says the plane left the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport and was headed to Colorado at the time of the crash. He says Parker's plane experienced unspecified issues, forcing him to turn back toward the airport.
Blackwell said during a press update Saturday that Parker "likely died a hero" for avoiding hitting any homes in the densely packed neighborhood.
"The potential loss of life was certainly significant," Blackwell says. "It could have been a much, much bigger tragedy than it already is."
The Wichita Police Department and the National Transportation Safety Board are involved in the investigation.
A preliminary report on the crash is expected in about a week
Hear the original story here:
A small plane went down in west Wichita late this afternoon.
An official with Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita said the twin-engine Cessna took off from the airport and crashed southeast of Maple and Maize Road around 4 p.m.
Wichita Police have confirmed the pilot died in the crash. Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell said the man was headed toward Colorado when his plane went down. He has not been identified.
The plane went down in the backyard of a home on Wagon Wheel road just east of Maize Road. Homeowner Amy Martin was not home at the time and said she saw the plane having trouble above, but didn’t know it had crashed until she got home and found it in her backyard.
Martin says the wreckage is scattered throughout her yard in pieces. She says it also took down trees and power lines but didn’t hit any houses.