(Reuters) – Five people heading to a college football game in Atlanta were killed on Saturday when their small plane crashed just after it departed from a regional airport in southern Louisiana, local media and authorities reported.
Six passengers were on board the Piper fixed-wing aircraft when it crashed shortly after 9 a.m. local time into a U.S. Post Office parking lot in Lafayette, Louisiana, police and fire officials told KATC news, a local ABC affiliate.
One passenger on the plane and a person who was either in or near a vehicle on the ground were taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. Two people in the post office suffered from smoke inhalation and were also being treated at the hospital, Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit said during a brief news conference.
Sports reporter Carley McCord, 30, was among the five passengers who were killed. McCord, who worked for WDSU News in New Orleans, was the daughter-in-law of Louisiana State University offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, the station reported.
The private plane was en route to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta where the passengers were to watch LSU play the University of Oklahoma in a college football national championship semifinal game, WDSU News reported.
Witnesses told KATC that the plane hit a power line as it attempted to make an emergency landing.
The National Safety Transportation Board said the twin-engine aircraft crashed a mile (1.6 km) west of the Lafayette Regional Airport shortly after taking off from the airfield, KATC reported.
Federal aviation investigators will conduct an investigation, Benoit said.
Federal officials were not immediately available for comment to Reuters.
Windows at the post office were blown out by the impact of the crash. A nearby Walmart was evacuated and closed and about 200 homes and businesses near the scene were without power for a short time after the crash, local media and officials said.
The Federal Aviation Administration told KATC that the plane was a Piper Fixed Wing Multi-Engine aircraft owned by Cheyenne Partners LLC based out of Lafayette.
Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Diane Craft