Two men were killed in an early morning plane crash at Massachusetts' Taunton Municipal Airport Sunday, but it's not yet clear why the Aeronca 7AC went down while attempting to takeoff.
"At this point it just looks like a horrible accident, just a terrible tragedy," Taunton Mayor Thomas Hoye Jr. told Boston.com.
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The plane crash turned the aircraft into a virtual fireball, and the National Transportation Safety Board said it had destroyed the plane's identification number. The agency will conduct a full investigation and examine the wreckage for evidence of mechanical issues.
The victims have been preliminarily identified as pilot John Schmouth, 69, and Roland Deslauriers, 61, but officials said they would have to be formally identified through dental records.
"Although next of kin notifications have been made and investigators believe they have identified both victims, the confirmed identities of the two victims will not officially be known until the Medical Examiner’s Office conducts autopsies on the remains," said spokesman Gregg Miliote in a statement.
The Aeronca 7AC is a type of small plane introduced in 1945 that has a front propeller and a wide, continuous wing over the fuselage. For such a basic aircraft, pilots at Taunton Municipal Airport don’t even have to file a flight plan or sign in or out of the hangar, which could make determining details of the crash difficult.
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"It's just like you get in your car and drive," James Madigan, a commissioner with the Taunton Municipal Airport Commission, told Boston.com. "You don’t have to tell anybody where you're going."
Local and State Police as well as the fire department, the state medical examiner, the Federal Aviation Administration, and MassDOT Aeronautics are investigating the Taunton plane crash.
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