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2 dead after Cessna plane crashes near Buckeye Municipal Airport

Buckeye plane crash
Posted at 8:25 AM, Jun 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-18 19:45:56-04

BUCKEYE, AZ — Two people have died after a small plane crash in Buckeye.

At about 7 a.m. Saturday, emergency crews were called to an area just outside of the Buckeye Municipal Airport for reports of an aircraft down.

Investigators say two men, 56-year-old Daniel Keen and 32-year-old Emmanuel Flores, were aboard the crashed Cessna.

Keen was pronounced dead at the scene while the Flores was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Police officials announced later that Flores also died due to their injuries.

Josh Stanaland was flying his Paramotor near the airport Saturday morning when he saw smoke turn into flames underneath him. He immediately called 911.

The remote airport has 40 T-hangars that offer services like flight instruction, skydiving and Glider Rides, according to their website.

"This could be one of my friends," said Gary Boggs, owner of Northwest Sky Sports.

Boggs has been operating Glider Rides out of the Buckeye airport for years, he said. He says crashes like this are rare.

He couldn't help but feel anxious to know how the crash happened.

"I saw the column of black smoke coming up," said Jeff King, a former pilot who lives in the area.

He said he's survived a plane crash in a Cessna similar to the one involved in Saturday's crash.

It's too early to know what happened.

He said, "One of the most critical times, especially when it is hot, it's humid, airplanes don't have a lot of lift and because of that, one of the most dangerous times is when you first take off and you pull out of ground too quick."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the cause.