OSHKOSH – One person is dead and another seriously hurt after a fiery plane crash Thursday morning in Oshkosh.
The plane went down on the EAA grounds.
Authorities say the pilot was a 74-year-old Kentucky man. He died at an area hospital. The female passenger is reported to be in serious condition.
It’s something no pilot wants to hear, especially during EAA AirVenture: a plane crashed.
“Every time we come here we’re hoping that we’re not gonna hear anything and nothing’s gonna happen,” said Don Bartlett, a visitor from Southern Illinois.
But it did happen Thursday.
Bartlett told FOX 11 his heart goes out to the crash victims.
“It’s tough, you know? It’s like, ‘wow.’ And then you go, ‘what happened?’” he said, sadly.
A thought echoed by EAA.
“It’s always tragic when an accident occurs. We always feel for those involved and for their families,” said EAA communications specialist Dick Knapinski.
According to the FAA, the pilot was trying to land the plane on Wittman Airport’s North-South runway. The plane apparently bounced then crashed among a row of trucks, creating smoke and flames.
Now the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are trying to figure out why it happened.
“They’re here, exhibiting on the field and their people are right here. So we have the opportunity to have them immediately on the site and they can come out and begin the investigation,” Knapinski explained.
Knapinski told FOX 11 this is the first crash on EAA grounds during AirVenture in about three years.
“Anytime you’re working with a large piece of motorized machinery, whether it’s a boat, it’s a car, it’s a motorcycle or an airplane, there’s always an inherent risk,” said Knapinski.
The plane was a small, open aircraft known as a Breezy.
“And overall it’s a safe aircraft, but like I said, we won’t know for a year,” said Bartlett.
It will take the NTSB about 6 months to a year to issue a full report.
Bartlett told us he hopes something can be learned from it.
“We wanna know what happened so it won’t happen again,” he said.
The runway completely reopened to air traffic a few hours after the crash. Activities continued at AirVenture as normal.