Pilot heard saying he wouldn’t make it moments before fatal fiery crash in Nashville

All five people on board the small aircraft perished as it burst into flames on the side of I-40

Dan Gooding
Tuesday 05 March 2024 22:07 GMT
'Several dead' in plane crash outside Nashville, police provide update

A pilot was heard saying he was unable to make an emergency landing, moments before he and four others died in a fiery crash at the side of a Nashville highway.

Three children were on board the single-engine aeroplane which burst into flames when it crashed at the side of the I-40 just before 8pm local time on Monday.

Audio came to light on Tuesday, reportedly from communications between the pilot and air traffic control as the plane attempted to make an emergency landing at John C Tune Airport after reporting engine failure.

“I’m too far away, I won’t make it,” the pilot stated after the air traffic controller told him he was clear to land.

Instead, the Piper Saratoga aircraft plummeted into the ground close to a Costco around 5 miles away.

All five people on board died.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday afternoon that all five on board were Canadian citizens and that three of the deceased were children. Further details on their identities were not revealed.

Nashville Fire Department crews rushed to the scene Monday night, with the department later saying that firefighters had managed to preserve as much of the evidence as possible so that investigators could work out what happened.

Flight data showed the aircraft had flown from Milton in Canada at around 1.20pm ET on Monday, before heading to Eerie, Pennsylvania and Mount Sterling County, Kentucky and then to Tennessee.

NTSB official Aaron McCarter told reporters in Nashville that the plane had circled the airport before turning back when it lost power.

"We're still trying to determine why he decided to overfly the airport at 2,500 feet. I don't know that yet," Mr McCarter said. "We are at the infancy of this investigation. These are all things that will come to light in subsequent days."

The NTSB has now moved the aircraft to a special facility where it can examine it in a closed environment.

Several videos of the explosion as the plane hit the ground have circulated online, with Mr McCarter asking those with footage to assist investigators by sending it to the NTSB.

Following the incident on Monday night, Nashville’s Mayor Freddie O’Connell paid tribute to emergency services.

“Our thoughts go out to the loved ones of all those on board the single-engine aircraft that crashed near Interstate 40 this evening,” Mayor O’Connell said in a post on X. “I want to thank the Metro emergency responders who were on site quickly and extinguished the fire.”

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