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5 killed in small plane crash off Nashville interstate

Nashville, Tenn. — Five people aboard a single-engine plane died Monday night when it crashed near an interstate highway in Nashville, Tennessee, authorities said.

The pilot made an emergency call to John C. Tune Airport around 7:40 p.m., reported engine trouble and was cleared to make an emergency landing, Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said. A short time later, the pilot radioed that the aircraft wouldn't reach the airport, he said.

"My engine shut down," the pilot said initially in a radio communication with air traffic control. That audio recording has been made publicly available by the streaming network

"Are you trying to land at Johnson?" asked someone at the control center. The pilot repeated that his plane engine has shut off, and says, "I'm going to be ... I don't know where."

Air traffic control advised the pilot to declare an emergency and asks if he can see the airport runway.

"Yes, I have the runway in sight," the pilot replied. But later, he said, "I'm too far away. Won't make it."

Another radio communication from Tennessee Highway Patrol at around 7:30 p.m. mentions "a single-engine aircraft that's fully engulfed," and a video shared on social media by a local Nashville resident appears to show the burning plane after it crashed along the shoulder of the highway.

The plane burst into flames when it crashed on a grassy median just off Interstate 40 and behind a Costco on the city's westside. The crash scene was about 3 miles south of the general aviation airport.

Tennessee Small Plane Crash
Emergency officials work the scene of a fatal small plane crash alongside Interstate 40 late on March 4, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. George Walker IV / AP

Police later said on social media that, "5 persons on board the airplane perished in the crash."  

Metro Fire Department Public Information Officer Kendra Loney told CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF-TV there were pieces of wreckage scattered around the scene but crews quickly gathered them and made sure it was safe for anyone driving by. There were no injuries to drivers on the interstate, he added.

Authorities said no vehicles or buildings on the ground were damaged.  They were trying to determine where the flight originated.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate. 

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