Experts weigh in on Erie plane crash that killed 5

ERIE- Investigators are now trying to figure out what led to a plane crash that killed five people and a dog in Erie. The National Transportation Safety Board says the plane crashed at noon, in a field near the Erie Municipal Airport.

Witnesses who live near Erie Municipal Airport say they are used to the sounds of planes overhead, but knew this time something was different.

"All of a sudden, we heard this plane, like a normal plane that was going to land that was really low, and it just really started sputtering-like tut-tut-tut-tut and then, no sound," said Jan Culver, who witnessed the crash.

What followed, they say, was an eerily quiet scene, as other witnesses ran towards the crash site, in a field near airport the runway.

RELATED: 5 people, dog killed in plane crash near Erie airport

"The plane was crumpled and it had flipped and there was some debris around it that was awful," witness Kate Shepherd said.

In all, five people and a dog were on board the plane. None survived.

"We have not taken any factors out of consideration," said NTSB Air Safety Investigator Courtney Liedler. "So, we'll be looking at the man, the machine and the environment, as we do for every accident."

The NTSB says the plane took off from Erie Sunday morning, traveled to Centennial airport and then was on its way back to Erie, when it crashed.

9NEWS aviation expert Greg Feith said there are some specific questions investigators with the NTSB will now be looking into.

"What was the pilot doing, what was the purpose of the flight?" he said.

The plane itself was a Piper PA-46, capable of carrying six people on board.

"This airplane is a sophisticated airplane, it's a well-over a million dollar airplane," Feith said. "So, the level of systems, that is the avionics and the pilot qualifications, are going to be representative of flying an airplane like that."

The NTSB says the plane's manufacturer will also be on scene tomorrow and the wreckage will likely remain where it is for a few days. Those on board have not been identified yet, pending notification of next of kin.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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