LAFAYETTE, LA – A small plane en route to a college football playoff game crashed into a post office parking lot in Louisiana shortly after takeoff Saturday, killing five people, including a well-known sports reporter who was the daughter-in-law of one of the team's coaches.
The two-engine Piper Cheyenne crashed in the city of Lafayette about a mile from the regional airport where the flight began, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, according to Molinaro and an NTSB statement on Twitter.
The plane was an eight-passenger aircraft, said Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit. Six people were on board the plane, five of whom were killed, he said. The sixth, a 37-year-old man, was being treated at an area hospital along with two people who were in the post office.
A person who was either in or near a car on the ground was also “impacted” by the crash and was being treated for injuries, Benoit said. He did not elaborate. A blackened car sat in the post office parking lot, which was carpeted with scattered tree limbs.
Kevin Jackson and other eyewitnesses told KLFY-TV that the plane hit a car as it fell, and that someone could be heard screaming inside the vehicle.
Steven Ensminger Jr., son of the offensive coordinator for the Louisiana State University football team, said his wife, Carley McCord, was on board the flight and died when it crashed. He said the plane was en route to the Peach Bowl playoff game in Atlanta between LSU and Oklahoma.
"I just don't feel like this is real," Ensminger Jr. told the AP in an Instagram message.
Ensminger Jr. said he was unable to go to the game and was at work when the crash happened. He said his father, Steven Ensminger, called him just before the elder Ensminger got to the stadium. The coach had tears in his eyes when he appeared on the field at the start of the game Saturday afternoon, and LSU players embraced him with hugs.