- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Two people were killed Tuesday evening after a small World War II-era plane crashed and exploded into flames near a Phoenix-area airport, authorities said.

Emergency crews were dispatched to Falcon Field Airport about 6:45 p.m. Deputy Chief Forrest Smith of the Mesa Fire Department said two people died in the crash. Their names weren’t immediately released.

Smith said witnesses called to report an explosion when the plane went down shortly after takeoff from Falcon Field.

Aerial video from the scene showed the demolished single-engine AT-6 plane on a road that runs around the perimeter of the airstrip.

It appears the nose section housing the propeller broke away from the body of the aircraft and was laying a few feet away. A portion of the wreckage was covered with a tarp.

A dust storm was moving through the area Tuesday evening, but authorities said it was unclear if weather was a factor in the crash.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

The small plane is believed to have been built in 1942. The AT-6 was flown during World War II and into the 1970s.

Falcon Field serves as a reliever to Phoenix Sky Harbor International and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airports.


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