2 believed dead after flight school plane crashes into Lakeland building
Fire ignites at warehouse housing explosive chemicals
LAKELAND, Fla. – A small plane from a flight training school in Central Florida crashed into a storage warehouse, and an official said two people aboard are believed to be dead.
City spokesman Kevin Cook said the plane crashed Thursday morning into a building owned by Key Safety Systems in Lakeland. The company designs, develops and manufactures automotive safety systems, including air bags and seatbelts.
Police released the names of whom they "reasonably believe to be the occupants of the airplane and whom were scheduled to be in the plane at that time." Police said pilot Terry Lee Butt Sr., 62, of Winter Haven, and student pilot Gregory Todd Geng, 41, of Hudson, Florida, were on the plane.
Witnesses saw a plane in distress around 10 a.m. When officials arrived, the warehouse was on fire. Chemicals are stored in the building, and hazmat crews were called to the scene.
Cook said the plane was a Twin Engine Piper Apache from Tailwheels Etc. Flight School.
There was no one inside the warehouse.
"There was an accident (Thursday) morning in which we lost on of our aircraft, along with the lives of close friends," Tailwheels said in a statement. "We ask that you would also keep the families of the deceased in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."
Officials said the plane took off from the Lakeland airport and crashed into the warehouse, causing an explosion and fire.
Video from Local 6 News helicopter Sky 6 showed a gaping hole in the roof of the building, with burned debris and smoke fuming from the building.
The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.
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