Thursday, February 18, 2010

UPDATE: Austin Plane Crash

From FoxNews:

A small single-engine plane crashed into a seven-story office building in Austin, Texas, around 10 a.m. local time Thursday.

An NTSB official told Fox News that they are investigating this as an intentional act, and said it appears the pilot set his own house on fire and then got in his plane and flew it into the building. An NTSB spokesman, however, told that "we can't confirm any of that."

Authorities said they have identified the pilot, but are not yet releasing the name.

SLIDESHOW: Small Plane Crashes Into Austin Office Building

Stuart Newberg was in the area right before the plane crashed. He said the plane was flying low and fast, according to The

“It was flying low and fast and I did a double take," Newberg said, according to the Web site.

"I thought it was a play remote control plane. Then I saw the smoke."

He told the paper he thought the plane seemed “very controlled.”

Harry Evans, an assistant chief with the Austin Fire Department, said one person from the building was unaccounted for. He said two have been taken to a hospital.

"There may be other injuries, we are unsure at this time," Evans said during a news conference Thursday.

An Internal Revenue Service office is located inside the building.

IRS Agent William Winnie said he was on the third floor of the building when he saw a light-colored, single engine plane coming towards the building, reported.

“It looked like it was coming right in my window,” Winnie said, according to the Web sit.

Winnie said the plane veered down and smashed into the lower floors. “I didn’t lose my footing, but it was enough to knock people who were sitting to the floor.”

The Austin American-Statesman newspaper reported several "walking wounded" at the scene. Paramedics have set up a triage center at the scene.

Heavy smoke could be seen coming from the building at 9420 Research Boulevard. Several local witnesses on Twitter reported seeing flames coming out of the building and lots of broken glass.

Dozens of fire trucks were on scene and the building was evacuated.

Early reports that the building housed the FBI field office in Austin later turned out not to be true. An FBI spokesman told Fox News that the FBI office in Austin is near where the plane crashed, but not in the same building. There are some federal offices in the building, though authorities couldn't identify which ones.

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