Damage to runway lights after small plane crashes at Tri-Cities Airport, injuring 2


Two people were taken to a hospital after a small experimental aircraft crashed Wednesday night at the Tri-Cities Airport. The airport revealed on Thursday morning, that there was some damage to the landing system lights on one of its runways. 

The aircraft went down about 500 feet short of a runway around 8:10 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Officials say the plane was carrying two people when it crashed. 

A witness said he heard the plane sputter before it hit the ground and flipped over.  He also said he saw the two people onboard ‘walk away’ from the crash.  

Airport officials say TRI emergency responders found two people on board conscious and moving. They say foam was sprayed on the plane and the surrounding area to avoid fire. Both people, according to the airport, “exited the aircraft with assistance and were taken by ambulance to Holston Valley Hospital for evaluation. The extent of their injuries is unknown, but the airport says both were conscious following the crash.

Airport Runway 23 was closed as emergency crews cleared the scene. It was reopened around 10 p.m.

The FAA says the plane is a Velocity experimental amateur-built aircraft with registration N67WR. Records show the plane is registered to Richard Knapp of Seale, Alabama. 

News Channel 11’s sister station, WRBL, says Knapp is a doctor at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Georgia. They confirmed he was on the plane when it crashed. Officials have not released the name of the other person. 

According to FlightAware, the plane was traveling from Georgia to the Tri-Cities. It departed Columbus around 6:17 p.m.

The airport says commercial flights were minimally impacted by the accident with the final two flights of the evening arriving as scheduled. 

But airport officials say some damage occurred to the FAA instrument landing system lights on Runway 23. Officials say the FAA is currently assessing the damage.  

Tri-Cities Airport says officials from the National Transportation Safety Board will continue to investigate the crash.  

This is a developing story. Look for updates on wjhl.com. 

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