Pilot, co-pilot dead & couple in critical condition after Greenville plane crash
By Dal Kalsi, Fox Carolina (Meredith Corporation)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – The coroner said two people died after a plane crash at the Greenville Downtown Airport Thursday afternoon and officials asked people to avoid the area due to a Hazmat situation.
Witnesses nearby said the plane was broken in half at the edge of Airport Road and the white fence surrounding the airport.
A spokesman for the police department said the jet went off the runway around 1:39 p.m.
Airport Director Joe Frasher said the plane landed on the runway and then, for unknown reasons, could not stop. The plane continued off the runway, across a grassy area, down an embankment, and crashed at the edge of the road.
Four people, two pilots and two passengers, were on board the plane at the time of the crash, Frasher said.
Deputy Coroner Jeff Fowler confirmed just after 3 p.m. that two people had died.
Three people were transported from the scene to the Greenville Health System but a fourth was trapped in the jet, officials said.
A spokesman for the Greenville Fire Department said the pilot and co-pilot died. The survivors were passengers, a married couple, and are in critical condition.
One pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. The other died at the hospital, Coroner Parks Evans said. All of the victims had to be extricated from the plane.
The coroner later identified the co-pilot as Stephen George Fox, 66, of Indian Rocks, Florida.
The pilot has yet to be identified, but the coroner said he was a 49-year-old male. The name will be released when next of kin are notified.
Frasher said one of the pilots was unconscious against the throttle when first responders got on scene. He said the plane never caught fire but the engine was sending dirt and dust flying into the air in huge plumes. Two aircraft mechanics were able to help shut down the engine when firefighters made entry into the cabin.
In Frasher’s more than three decades working at the airport, he said Thursday’s crash was the first fatality was the first he’d seen in his career.
Greenville police Chief Ken Miller asked people to avoid Airport Road because the jet leaked fuel, leading to a Hazmat situation.
Hazmat crews were working to contain and absorb the fuel, which was flowing downstream toward Haywood Road, Miller said.
Miller said Airport Road would be closed for some time as the FAA and NTSB investigates the crash.
Miller said federal investigators would likely be on scene until Sunday at the earliest.
The jet, a Dassault-Breguet Falcon 50, was registered out of Delaware to Global Aircraft Acquisitions.
There is no word yet on where the flight originated.