Two people were killed last night when a single-engine airplane with three persons aboard crashed and exploded in a swamp near Chesapeake, Va., moments after takeoff at the Hampton Roads Regional Airport, authorities reported.
An official at the scene said the two dead were a man and a woman, but their identities were not available immediately.
One passenger, a man in his early 40s who also was not identified, was airlifted by helicopter to Norfolk General Hospital after the 8 p.m. crash for treatment of third-degree burns on his legs and abdomen, authorities said. Officials at the scene said the man had been thrown about 75 feet from the aircraft, which slammed into a stand of trees about 300 yards south of Virginia Rte. 58.
Charles Silvar, a manager at the rural airport, said "everything looked fine," as the plane rolled down the runway in its takeoff. "I turned my back, and the next thing I knew there was a big fireball in the swamp. It lit up the whole sky."
Bob Parker, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said the plane's destination, according to its flight plan, was Orlando, Fla.
The plane crashed about a half-mile from the end of the runway, Parker and Silvar said. The runway at the time of the crash was slick with rain and shrouded in fog, authorities said.