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3 hurt, 1 dead after fiery plane crash in front of Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford

EAST HARTFORD -- A fiery plane crash in East Hartford sent smoke billowing for miles on Tuesday afternoon.

Two people were on board during the crash; one, was taken to the hospital with significant injuries, and a second man is dead. The survivor is expected to survive, and he is speaking to investigators about what occurred.

Also, two people who were inside a vehicle near the crash scene were also taken to the hospital with minor injuries related to the trauma of being in such close proximity to the crash.

The crash occurred around 3:40 p.m. at 519 Main Street, just outside of the west gate of the Pratt & Whitney campus. The aerospace company released a statement Tuesday evening:

We are aware of the incident that occurred this afternoon on Main Street. Our thoughts are with the people affected. It does not appear at this time that any Pratt & Whitney employees or contractors were involved. Additionally, there is no impact to our operation here in East Hartford other than restricted traffic flow to the facility's main entrance on Main Street. We stand ready to assist local officials as needed. Additional queries should be directed to the appropriate local officials.

Witnesses reported seeing a plane crash, followed by an explosion, and a lot of smoke could be seen in the area. One witness said he saw "a mushroom cloud explosion."

Another witness named Morgan who works nearby at Dairy Queen said, "We just saw all the flames and all the emergency personnel started coming, and everyone was like, 'it’s a plane, it’s a plane!' And we’re like, 'Oh my God!'"

Here is a statement from the FAA, which is investigating the crash:

A Piper PA 34 aircraft went down on E. Main St. in Hartford, CT at about 3:40 p.m. today. The aircraft was on final approach to Runway 20 at Hartford-Brainard Airport. Check with local authorities on the condition of the two people on board. The FAA will investigate.

The National Transportation Safety Board is part of the investigation as well.

Officials say that the plane appears to have originated from a local plane school, and the mayor said that an instructor and a student were the two people on board.

The plane clipped a few powerlines when it crashed, leading to 520 people to lose power, according to Eversource, but power was restored for most people.

Main Street is closed around the 400-block, near the crash site, and likely will be for much of Wednesday.

The East Hartford school district said that it expected delays for school buses on Tuesday due to the closures, and that parents should be patient, particularly those of children who attend Goodwin, Pitkin and O'Connell. Due to those schools' proximity to the site, some internet and communications have been interrupted as well.

Brainard Airport, where the plane was supposed to land, also released a statement on the incident:

A Piper Seneca aircraft was en-route to Brainard Airport this afternoon. Unfortunately, the aircraft did not complete its landing, and a crash was reported at 3:40 P.M. in the vicinity of Main Street in East Hartford. Two individuals were on board the aircraft.  The incident is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Flight Standards District Office and the Connecticut Airport Authority. Further information will be provided at a later date by the appropriate parties.

Goodwin College, which is nearby, canceled all classes scheduled for Tuesday night. Main Street is closed in the area, though Route 2 has reopened after being shutdown.


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