UPDATE: Coroner's Office Identifies Both Victims In Sunday Plane Crash
BROWNSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) - The Madison County Sheriff's Office confirms that two people died Sunday afternoon in a plane crash at the Moontown Airport. The airport is located just off of Highway 72, approximately ten miles east of Huntsville.
The Madison County coroner tells WHNT News 19 that the victims are 74-year-old George Myers and 17-year-old Christian Schmitt. Myers was a long-time pilot, and also the owner of Moontown Airport. Schmitt was a student flyer who was participating in a weekend air-show at the airport.
Just before 3:30 Sunday afternoon, a call went out over police and emergency radios of an Alert III at the airport. An Alert III is the most severe type of aircraft emergency. Witnesses said the aircraft was flying in an aerobatic stunt with three other planes, but quickly fell out of formation when it started losing altitude.
Witnesses tell WHNT News 19 that the plane appeared to be a Yak. It's a single-engine plane developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.
One eyewitness described the terrifying seconds that led up to the fatal crash.
"I don't think it was a spin, he was just trying to pull out of it really hard, and he disappeared behind the trees," said Steve Babin, an airshow spectator who saw the crash. "Just saw the smoke coming up beyond the trees after that...There's a lot of hurting people out here today."
Authorities said investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration had arrived on the scene Sunday night. The FAA will work with the National Transportation Safety Board in determining the cause of the accident.
According to the airport's website, their annual fly-in was taking place this weekend. There were dozens of small planes and even helicopters at the event.