Small airplane crash in Okeechobee County sends two to hospital

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - Federal Aviation experts are investigating a plane crash in Okeechobee County that sent two men to the hospital.

A Columbia high-performance plane touched down at the Okeechobee Airport Sunday morning, but the landing went wrong. The plane gyrated in the air.

"Not even a minute later, two miles southwest of the airport, the airplane went down," said Alex Mendoza, airport manager.

The plane crashed in the parking lot of Walpole Feed and came to rest in the woods nearby. A black column of smoke shot in the air, as a semi truck caught fire. Pilot Kris Smith witnessed the scene from the sky.

"I orbited around the site of the crash at 2,000 feet, put an emergency call out," said Smith. "Sadly, there was a lot of smoke and fire."

Mendoza says an emergency medical helicopter carried one of the plane's occupants to a hospital. 

"Just praying for hope … for a good outcome for those involved," said Smith.

The Federal Aviation Administration arrived on scene hours later to investigate.

A wheel and a wing cover were left on the runway Sunday afternoon.

The National Transportation Safety Board is reviewing the cause of the crash. 

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