A small airplane crashed at the Middlesboro-Bell County Airport on Friday afternoon. The plane crashed on the north side of the field near the western end of the runway. The Middlesboro Police Department was notified of the plane crash at approximately 1 p.m.
According to Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe, the pilot received burn injuries and was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by AirEvac. At last report, he was being transferred to the Vanderbilt burn center. Although seriously injured, the pilot was conscious and able to talk to responders at the scene.
Sharpe said the pilot, who was flying a Beech-Bonanza V-35B, was from Texas. Details are unclear, but apparently the plane took off from the airport bound for Texas. Some type of problem developed immediately after take off and the plane turned to land. Upon approach, the pilot lost control and a wing struck the runway causing the plane to veer off and catch fire.
Prior to the flames being extinguished by the Middlesboro Fire Department, smoke could be seen coming from the plane as one traveled down Cumberland Avenue.
Several police agencies were called to the scene as well as Middlesboro Fire/EMS and the National Park Service.
Sharpe said federal agencies have been notified and officials from the FAA will arrive on Saturday to investigate the crash. The airport is closed and will not re-open until released by the FAA. The crash site has been secured and no one will be permitted to enter until the scene is released to FAA officials.
Anthony Cloud can be contacted at 606-302-9090 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN.