PHOENIX — Two people are dead after a plane exploded and crashed in Mesa at Falcon Field.
Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor with the Federal Aviation Administration said a single-engine AT-6 crashed on takeoff at Falcon Field and burned.
Mesa Police said the pilot was identified as Jesse R. Goodwin and the passenger was 18-year-old Ataberk Besler, a Turkish citizen in the country on a student exchange program.
Mesa Fire and Medical Department aircraft rescue firefighting paramedics were on scene. Deputy Chief Forrest Smith with Mesa Fire confirmed that witnesses to the crash called to report an explosion when the plane crashed. He said the plane went down on Greenfield Road near McDowell and McKellips Roads at Falcon Field Airport.
Mesa Police Detective Steve Berry said the older military trainer aircraft had some kind of mechanical difficulty when taking off. It made a turn to the right and then crashed on to the roadway.
It appears the nose section housing the propeller broke away from the body of the aircraft and was laying a few feet away. A portion of the wreckage was covered with a tarp. It’s unclear if weather was a factor in the crash.
The crash did disrupt some water service in the area causing flooding. Mesa Fire worked with the water department to secure the water.
Gregor said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
The Associated Press and KTAR’s Corbin Carson and Mike Sackley contributed to this report.