Plane crashes at Columbia Airport

Union Democrat staff

No one was injured in a fiery plane crash early this morning at Columbia Airport.

The accident was reported about 6 a.m. on the airfield runway.

According to Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Oliver, the plane made a hard landing and then burst into flames after the two pilots escaped.

"They were coming in for a landing, and something happened with the landing gear. … They skidded about a quarter-mile down the runway," Oliver said. "When the plane stopped, they both hopped out, and then the plane caught on fire."

Oliver said the airport will likely be closed until 6 p.m.

National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigators were en route to the airfield this morning.

FAA records identify the plane as a 1978 Beech turbo-prop aircraft. The registered owner is Coastal Aviation, based in Sacramento.

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