Alva Police confirm a private plane has crashed north of the Share Medical Center, near Northwestern Oklahoma State University Ranger Field.
State troopers tell us a flight school student, 39-year-old Cory Washburn of Alva, and an instructor, 61-year-old David Chael of Enid,, were inbound to the Alva Municipal Airport when the small plane crashed around 5:30 this evening. Washburn suffered critical injuries and was rushed to the hospital. Chael was pronounced dead at the scene.
A witness described the plane as a ball of fire when it went down. Troopers tell us preliminary reports indicate a mechanical failure during the descent. The initial report from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol stated "(b)oth occupants were exiting the plane when it exploded."
“It's unclear what caused the malfunction with the aircraft,” said Trooper Justin Barney, "but the landing gear had been deployed and struck some power lines, causing it to go into some trees and then make contact with the ground.”
Another witness said the plane was flying low over the university football field just north of the crash site, then she saw smoke billowing up from behind a tree line. She says that smoke was flowing into Share Medical Center next to the crash site. The hospital had to evacuate some patients because power was knocked out but has since been restored.
Many of the homes in this neighborhood also lost power. Full power is expected to be restored around midnight.
Troopers are still notifying the victims’ next of kin so they have not yet released their names but say the student was taking private lessons from the pilot who was killed.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated a helicopter had crashed. Also, an earlier version of this story incorrectly named the flight student as Cortney.