Small plane crashes near Madras Airport in Oregon, killing 2

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A small plane carrying two people has crashed near Madras Municipal Airport in Jefferson County, Oregon, killing both occupants, officials say. It happened as many people are traveling to the area ahead of Monday’s solar eclipse.

The incident happened at about 1:54 p.m. PT on Saturday when a single-engine, homebuilt Wheeler Express aircraft went down in Willow Creek Canyon off SW Belmont Lane in Madras, which is just south of Madras Municipal Airport.

A fire broke out at the scene of the crash and plumes of black smoke could be seen billowing from the canyon. The wildfire was quickly extinguished. Drone footage showed that the small plane had been completely destroyed.

“Emergency responders reached the plane from the south side of the canyon and found the plane fully engulfed in flames near the top of the canyon,” the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “No other property was damaged.”

County officials confirmed that 2 people were on board the aircraft and there were no signs of any survivors. They said the accident occurred when the aircraft was preparing to land at Madras Airport, though it was not immediately disclosed where the plane was flying from.

The cause of Saturday’s accident was not immediately known.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to travel to the area in the next few days in anticipation of Monday’s solar eclipse. The Madras area is one of the first places in the United States to witness the full solar eclipse.

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