LONG VIEW, N.C. - Four people have been taken to hospitals after a plane crash in Catawba County.
The Federal Aviation Administration says a Beech BE-35 aircraft lost power when it took off from Hickory Regional Airport around 5 p.m. Tuesday.
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the aircraft went down in a residential area.
IMAGES: Small plane crash in Long View
Officials said the plane was headed to the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport in Greer, South Carolina.
Bergen said the FAA is looking into the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
Sandy Bollinger said she and her husband were inside watching TV when the plane went down in her backyard.
“He said, ‘What was that?’ and I said, ‘I don't know,’” she said.
When she looked out the window, she saw the plane with people stuck inside.
“I started hollering, ‘Bill, there's a plane crash in our yard,’” Bollinger said.
Bollinger said within minutes emergency crews and neighbors rushed to get the four people out of the plane.
CHOPPER 9: Small plane crashes in Long View
“All the neighbors, I think everyone from this whole neighborhood, was out here,” she said.
Channel 9 was told three of the four people in the plane were experienced pilots. Three passengers were taken to Frye Medical Center in Hickory. The pilot was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center.
Darlene Conklin is one of the neighbors who rushed in to help. She's thankful everyone survived and said it could have been worse.
“It could have hit any of our neighbors’ houses. It could have hit our house but it’s just a miracle that the plane went down and all of them survived,” she said.
Teen recounts plane crash after takeoff at Hickory airport
Brian Teague, 19, was one of four people on the Beechcraft Bonanza plane headed for Spartanburg on Tuesday when suddenly the engine failed.
“I think it was luck, the pilot's skill, the good Lord just watching over us. That's about all there was to it,” he said after surviving the crash.
The small plane took off from the Hickory Regional Airport around 5 p.m. It was in the air fewer than 15 minutes and just 300 feet off the ground when it crashed into a Long View neighborhood.
Part of the plane wrapped around a tree.
Teague and two others got out OK, but the pilot had to be helped by rescue crews.
“It puts in front of you the things you take for granted every day. You wake up and see your family. They’re here you might fuss at them, but you take for granted so much,” he said.
Teague has been flying since he was 15.
The Liberty University freshman is studying aviation and business with the goal of one day becoming a commercial pilot.
He was scheduled to take his final test to earn his private pilot's license next weekend.
“First thing I asked when it got in the ambulance, I asked the guy 'Hey man, will I be able to take my check route Saturday?’” he said.
The test will have to be rescheduled, but Teague said he's not backing down from his dream.
Channel 9 asked investigators if it was a mechanical issue that caused the power outage or pilot error, but they said it is under investigation.
The FAA said names and information about victims will not be released at this time.
A preliminary report on the investigation usually takes about 10 days.
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