3 dead after plane crashes at Tennessee's Collegedale Municipal Airport

The crash happened about two miles northeast of the entrance to the airport. (WTVC)

COLLEGEDALE, Tenn. (WTVC) - UPDATE: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on a crash that killed three people at Collegedale's airport back on June 11th.

Read more here.


A single engine airplane crashed Saturday at around 12:30 at the Collegedale Municipal Airport. Three people died in the wreck. Collegedale Police say one of the survivors underwent surgery. Updates on conditions were not immediately available.

Saturday night officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) work to figure out what caused the crash. The FAA confirmed the plane was a Mooney M20E, and said it had crashed after takeoff from Runway 12. Police describe the plane as transient; it was not local. Early Sunday morning the National Transportation Safety Board joined the investigation. Both agencies plan to release more information Sunday.

(See photos of the wreckage here)

Bob Etheridge, lives near where the crash happened, and called 911. He says - he's watched countless airplanes take off. But he describes what happened Saturday, as out of the ordinary.

"It started making a hard left bank - which is unusual," said Bob Etheridge.

He kept his eye on the plane.

"I'm watching the guy thinking well he better bring that plane up or he's not going to make it over these houses," said Etheridge.

A hill blocked what happened next - but Etheridge says - -he watched the plane head towards the ground.

"It made a bang as you can imagine," said Etheridge. "I was looking at the plane for any signs of life and I didn't see anyone moving down there."

Etheridge called 911. His next inclination - to help anyone inside the crumpled plane.

"I was gonna go over the fence and check on the people - but the dispatcher said to stay away in case there was a fire," said Etheridge.

Inside the plane - four people. Two - pronounced dead when emergency crews arrived. The other two - air lifted from the wreck to the hospital.

"You start out a Saturday going on a trip or just taking a flight or whatever, going on your plane - going to enjoy life that day," said Etheridge as he gestured towards the wreckage. "And then this happens."

Thoughts of the victims and injured are still on his mind.

"When you witness something like this - there are casualties and in this case fatalities - you don't forget something like that," said Etheridge.

Collegedale Police guarded the site where the plane crashed through the night.

The accident happened under a partly cloudy sky.

(See photos of the wreckage here)

The exact address given out by dispatchers was 5100 Bess More Road, the airport's main address.

Alana LaFlore was on the scene near the crash Saturday afternoon, and says the crash site is about two miles northeast of the airport's main entrance.

As the drama unfolded, other local EMS departments helped spread the word of what was happening.

The Collegedale Municipal Airport canceled all remaining arrivals and departures scheduled for the day.

NewsChannel 9 continues to work to learn the conditions of the crash's two survivors, and the identities of those who lost their lives. We also continue to dig deeper into learning what exactly caused the plane to crash. Depend on us to bring you updates as we get them.

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