Three men were killed Friday night in a Cessna 172 when the airplane hit a truck on takeoff from Knox County Regional Airport in Maine.
After the collision, the airplane reportedly climbed to about 150 feet before banking east and nose-diving into a wooded area, killing 22-year-old David Cheney, 24-year-old Marcelo Rugini and 24-year-old William Hannigan Ill. First responders at the scene attempted to pull one occupant out of the burning wreckage without success.
The Cessna 172 had been heading northbound at the time of the crash. According to airport authorities, the truck – driven by a pilot picking up a fellow pilot at a nearby hangar – was authorized to be on airport grounds, but did not feature a beacon light. The driver of the truck was not injured during the accident.
It is unclear what communication, if any, occurred between the truck and the occupants of the 172 at the non-towered airport. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the accident.