Sept. 26--A female passenger of a small single-engine plane was killed and the pilot was severely injured after they crashed this evening in a Chase Bank branch parking lot in Bolingbrook as they attempted to land nearby, officials said.
The crash happened at 5:15 p.m. at 262 S. Weber Rd. in the southwest suburb, Bolingbrook Police Lt. Michael Rompa said. Officials believe the pilot was trying to land at Bolingbrook's Clow International Airport nearby, Rompa said.
Before the plane came to rest in the parking lot, it crashed into a tree, a light pole and three vehicles near the bank, Rompa said.
"The plane is unrecognizable at this time," Rompa said.
Officials said the passenger of the plane was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:45 p.m. and the male pilot suffered severe burns. He was initially taken to Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital and then transferred to Loyola University Medical Center, Rompa said.
Rompa said it was "very lucky" the plane didn't strike the rush-hour traffic just west of the crash scene on Weber Road.
Mike Gorhar, 30, was working next door at Andy's Frozen Custard when he heard a loud blast and ran outside, thinking that it was a car crash.
"My coworker said there's somebody on fire," Gorhar said.
He said two people were standing over the pilot trying to use a sweatshirt to smother flames on his body.
"We kept telling him to roll" Gorhar said. "He kept asking to get his wife out" of the plane.
Gorhar and others yelled into the burning plane to see if anyone else was inside.
"The plane was a mountain of flames" he said
People from the bank came out with water, Gorhar said. The group tried to get the pilot away from burning wreckage.
The pilot appeared to be in his 40s or 50s, Gorhar said
Deputy Bolingbrook Fire Chief Trinedad Garza said that when firefighters arrived, they found several cars on fire in the parking lot and the plane on fire.
"The airplane was well-involved" in a fire, he said
Firefighters first focused on putting out the flames from the burning cars then they hit plane with foam. The fire was under control in about 15 minutes, he said.
"It was pretty controlled," Garza said.
FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said the aircraft was "heavily damaged.'' The FAA is investigating, she said. The plane took off from an airport in Kentucky, according to the agency.
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