2 adults, 3 children killed after small plane crash along I-40 in Nashville, Tennessee

ByJoe Sutton, Elizabeth Wolfe and Eric Levenson, CNN, CNNWire
Wednesday, March 6, 2024
Video shows small plane burst into flames
Video shows a small plane bursting into flames upon crash landing in Nashville, Tennessee. All 5 onboard died.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A small plane crashed into the shoulder of Nashville's Interstate 40 and burst into flames Monday night, killing all five people on board, police said.

Two adults and three children were on the plane, National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator Aaron McCarter said Tuesday. The victims were Canadian citizens, and officials are working to identify them, CNN reported.

The plane was approved for an emergency landing at John C. Tune Airport after reporting engine and power failure around 7:40 p.m., Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said. But the pilot soon told air traffic control that they wouldn't make it to the tarmac.

Audio from the website LiveATC.net captured the communication between the pilot and the air traffic controller before the fatal crash.

"Do you still have John Tune Airport in sight?" the air traffic controller asked.

"My engine shut off. I'm at sixteen hundred (feet). I'm going to be landing ... I don't know where," the pilot responded.

Witnesses reported the plane appeared to be "obviously in distress as it was coming over the interstate" before it crashed into a grassy area behind a Costco alongside I-40 east, Aaron said.

"We are fortunate the aircraft did not hit any buildings as it went down," Aaron said.

The aircraft exploded into flames upon impact, Nashville Fire Department spokesperson Kendra Loney said.

"That impact was catastrophic and did not leave any survivors," Loney said.

SEE ALSO: Texas-based company claims to have new evidence in search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

The NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash of the single-engine plane, the FAA said. The plane was a Piper PA-32, according to the NTSB.

The plane originated in Ontario, Canada, and made stops in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Mount Sterling, Kentucky, "more than likely to pick up gas," said McCarter, the NTSB investigator. The plane was headed to John Tune Airport in Nashville on Monday night but for unknown reasons passed over the airport at 2,500 feet, he said.

The plane then made a U-turn, reported a complete loss of engine power and crashed into the side of the highway, he said.

The crash prompted the temporary closure of I-40 east at mile marker 202, Tennessee Department of Transportation Region 3 spokeswoman Rebekah Hammonds said on X.

Witness video shows an aircraft engulfed in flames and smoke, and images shared by police capture the aircraft's mangled frame surrounded by first responders on a grassy roadside.

Live traffic cameras also showed a large emergency vehicle response blocking all eastbound travel lanes near the crash site and a string of gridlocked traffic leading up to the shut-down stretch of I-40 east.

CNN's Jamiel Lynch, Pete Muntean, Amanda Jackson and Caroll Alvarado contributed to this report.

(The-CNN-Wire & 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)