On Wednesday evening, a plane crashed into a tractor-trailer on I-85 in North Carolina. The pilot died in the crash and a fire started near the highway.
According to The New York Post, the plane was a twin-engine Beechcraft Barron. The pilot, 43-year-old Raymond John Ackley, took off a little after 5 p.m. EST. He left from the Davidson County Airport in Lexington, North Carolina.
But according to local news outlet Fox8, the plane rose only a few hundred feet in the air before it quickly lost altitude. Interstate 85, where the tractor-trailer was driving south, is only 300 yards from the end of the runway, per CNN.
Master Trooper Ned Moultrie of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol told CNN that the plane hit the back of the tractor-trailer. The plane erupted into flame and the pilot died at the scene. Meanwhile, the truck ran off the road and flipped onto its side. The truck driver is currently being treated for minor, non-life-threatening injuries at a nearby hospital.
As for the cause of the crash, Moultrie and other officials attributed it to “possible mechanical issues.” Both the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have started investigating the crash.
At this time, no one else has reported an injury from the plane crash. Fox8 did report that a 2019 Ford Truck was also damaged in the crash.
Eyewitness Speaks About Plane Crashing into Tractor Trailer on North Carolina Highway
As expected on such a busy highway, many people witnessed the plane crash firsthand. One of those eyewitnesses sat down with Fox8 earlier today to discuss what they saw of the crash.
Lee Doggette, while driving home from work, was just one exit away from the tractor-trailer when the plane crashed into it.
“It was relatively close…as I approached…I noticed what it was. It was that airplane, and…it actually had hit a tractor-trailer and tipped out over, and the truck was on its side, and…the plane was…in many different pieces, and it was also on fire,” Doggette said.
By Doggette’s account, the plane exploded upon impact. But a second explosion occurred from the same spot five minutes later.
“Honestly everybody on the highway stopped just out of shock,” Dogette sid of his actions after the initial explosion. “It was like so many people on the highway, people getting out of their cars, and I had gotten out of my truck, not knowing if someone needed help. But it was pretty clear, seeing it, that there was not anything anybody could do.”
He described his emotions during the scene as “Pure shock…I felt horrible because I know that those people had to succumb to the accident, you know? So that was my first thing…how unfortunate that is…I can’t really put it in words,” he said.