State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Two Dead in University Park Airport Crash

by on June 16, 2016 11:29 AM

Updated at 4:10 p.m.

Two people have been confirmed dead in a small plane crash Thursday morning near University Park Airport.

A Piper Navajo twin-engine aircraft traveling from Washington County Airport and carrying only the pilot and passenger crashed at 8:20 a.m. on approach to University Park Airport. 

"We want to express our sympathies to all who were impacted by this event today," Penn State spokeswoman Heather Robbins said.

Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers pronounced the two individuals dead at the scene. They have not been named yet, pending identification of dental records. Sayers said as of 4 p.m. responders were still working to remove their bodies from the aircraft, which was in multiple pieces after the crash.

The airport was closed until 10:20 a.m. Two inbound planes were diverted to other airports and two flights were delayed from takeoff, none of which were commercial flights.

Aircraft rescue and and multiple local fire and emergency responders were on the scene at approximately 8:45 a.m.. 

The plane was approaching the airport near Barnes Lane when the air traffic control tower noticed smoke coming from the plane. The tower attempted to contact the plane and received no response. The plane crashed in a heavily wooded area in Benner Township, approximately one mile east of the airport and on Penn State property

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration's Harrisburg office and the National Transportation Safety Board out of Ashburn, Va., are at the crash site to conduct the investigation. Airport director Bryan Rodgers said while the investigation is ongoing. he could not speculate on the cause of the crash or what precisely occurred as the flight went down. He did say he believes there was a fire as a result of the crash.

Barnes Lane remains closed while the investigation continues but local traffic will be accommodated.

The plane is registered to Aero National, Inc., a Washington, Pa.-based air ambulance and private charter plane service.

This is the second small plane crash in eight days at the airport. A small aircraft carrying only the pilot crash landed on June 8. No one was injured.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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