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Small plane crashes near prime eclipse town

Eclipse preparations

A small plane crashed Saturday near the airport in Madras, Oregon, CBS affiliate KOIN reports.

Two people have been killed, a Madras official told CBS News.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the small plane was approaching the airport when it crashed near where people are gathering to view the solar eclipse, the Oregonian/Oregonlive reports.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor says the plane that crashed Saturday was a single-engine, homebuilt Wheeler Express.

Small Oregon town prepares for thousands of eclipse tourists

The Oregonian/Oregonlive reports that the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating

"I heard the plane coming in and I heard it sputtering some - which is not uncommon, we hear it quite often, so I didn't really think much about it - and then a few seconds later I heard the impact," Madras resident Michele Quinn told KOIN 6 News.

Visitors who were golfing nearby saw the plane take sharp turn before it crashed into the canyon, KOIN reports.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office confirmed to KOIN crews are responding. Local firefighters have been called to help with the potential fire.

The town of Madras has a population of about 6,200, but it is expected to grow to as much as 200,000 this weekend since it offers prime eclipse views.

Madras Municipal Airport normally gets three flights an hour. Planes are now arriving every three minutes, CBS News' Jamie Yuccas reports.

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