PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A pilot was killed in a small plane crash at the Pearson Field Airport in Vancouver Tuesday morning, according to the Vancouver Police Department.
Emergency crews responded around 7:39 a.m. to the crash at the field on East Reserve Street, just north of the Columbia River.
The FAA told KOIN 6 that the single-engine Beechcraft V35B was found in a fiery blaze at the end of the runway. The plane was upside down with what appeared to be extensive damage.
Once the flames were out, firefighters said they found a person deceased inside the plane. The pilot was reportedly the only person on board.
Chris Tyree was on his way to work when he saw the plume of black smoke coming from the airport and stopped by to get a look at what was happening.
“The airport personnel brought out fire extinguishers and they couldn’t control it,” Tyree said. “It just took off again after that. A pretty big plume of black smoke.”
Tyree grew up around planes, saying his father would take him in them, which is why the crash hit close to home.
“Growing up in the air and having this happen is pretty heart-wrenching,” he said.
Officials have not yet said what caused the crash, but the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. The full investigation could take 1-2 years.
The runway at Pearson Field was closed all day Tuesday for the investigation, with no estimated time to reopen as the wreckage of the plane sits on the tarmac.
KOIN 6 meteorologist Kelley Bayern said at the time of the crash winds were calm, but there was some haze.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Police Department is handling the death investigation and said the pilot’s identity will be released at a later time.
KOIN 6 News reporter Brandon Thompson contributed to this article.