Learjet crashes on approach to New Jersey airport, killing two pilots

CARLSTADT, N.J. (Reuters) - A small plane crashed on its approach to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on Monday, killing two pilots and sparking fires that could be seen from New York, the Federal Aviation Administration and police said.

The twin-engine Learjet 35 departed Philadelphia and went down at 3:30 p.m. EDT about a quarter-mile from the airport in northern New Jersey, the FAA said.

Carlstadt Police Sergeant John Cleary told reporters the plane hit one building in an industrial or manufacturing area, skidded across a parking lot and broke apart. The flaming debris then set a second building on fire, he said.

“The plane was seen listing to its left side, so obviously there was some sort of malfunction,” Cleary said.

Carlstadt Police Department Sergeant Scott Jordan said two pilots had been killed. No passengers were aboard and Jordan had no information on the status of anyone on the ground.

The area around the fire scene was crowded with police and rescue equipment as smoke poured from a building still on fire. Some vehicles were also damaged on the ground at the crash site.

The FAA said it was sending a team to the site, and the National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the crash.

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Teterboro Airport closed because of the crash, it said in a statement.

Flight data compiled by FlightAware, a website that tracks plane movements, said the Learjet 35 had started the day at Teterboro. It flew to Massachusetts before flying to Philadelphia.

The plane’s registered owner is A&C Big Sky Aviation LLC in Billings, Montana. Attempts to reach the company for comment were unsuccessful.

The National Weather Service said strong winds had been reported in the area.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta in Carlstadt, New Jersey, and David Shepardson and Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Chris Reese