HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Moments before a plane with three people on board crashed and burned Wednesday, emergency crews had just cleared another emergency call at the airport.
WHNT News 19 obtained the tower audio traffic from Wednesday which reveals airport emergency crews had radioed back clear to the tower one minute before reports of the fiery crash started flooding the tower.
In the audio you can hear airport workers frantically reporting, “Airfield is closed. Airfield is closed. We are responding to the alert three.”
The crash claimed the lives of all three passengers on board the Westwind II 10-seater aircraft that was trying to depart Huntsville International Airport when the plane caught fire.
Air traffic control tower personnel alerted Huntsville International Airport to the crash at 2:21 p.m.
Madison County officials say rescue workers were on the scene of the crash within moments of the plane coming down in a field near the runway on airport property near County Line Road.
“If there was something we could have done to rescue those people we were in place to do so. But, there was nothing to be done,” County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said.
Huntsville International Airport was immediately closed. At least 14 flights into and out of Huntsville International Airport were canceled while crews worked the scene, according to data from flyhuntsville.com. The airport reopened just after 5:00 PM.
The crash is being investigated by the NTSB and the FAA.