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Piper hits pedestrians on walking path, 3 injured

On Monday, two people out for a walk in Muncie, Indiana were struck by a Piper PA-28 Dakota (N8438B) when it crashed into the path after missing its initial approach at the Delaware County Regional Airport (MIE). An airport official confirmed Piper PA-28-236 Dakota, which has also been reported as a Piper Cherokee, was traveling from Bloomington and landing on runway 14 when the pilot decided to circle back, instead crashing on the nearby walking path around 10:24 a.m. MIE reported that the plane crashed about 0.5 miles west of the airport and the plane was occupied by a single occupant. Chief Deputy Jeff Stanley told Fox 59 Muncie the plane fell out of the sky and crashed, striking the two pedestrians walking on the Cardinal Greenway walking trail. Stanley said it was not clear if the people were struck by the plane or the debris when the Piper collided with the treeline around the path. "That's a bad day," Stanley said to Fox 59. "They're out doing some exercise, going for a walk, and the next thing you know they're being struck by a plane. It's very unfortunate, we're praying for the best for everyone involved." Officials confirmed in a press conference Monday afternoon that the pilot was entrapped in the wreckage and rescuers had to extricate him from the aircraft. The pilot and pedestrians were transported to the IU Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. An EMS responder said that by Monday afternoon, two of the patients were in serious condition and likely moving to other hospitals, the condition of the third was unknown at the time. He confirmed in the press conference that the pilot was one of the two patients in serious condition being transferred to a hospital in Indianapolis. He told reporters that the patients suffered burns and other traumatic injuries consistent with the wreckage with fire involved. Upon arrival, responders put out a fire from the initial crash on the debris and airplane tail. Airport officials reported that there was electrical work being done at the airport and American Electric Power employees put out the fire with extinguishers they had on their trucks before responders arrived on the scene. The airport official confirmed that the plane was arriving at MIE from Bloomington and circled back after a missed approach before the crash. The plane impacted trees on the west side and east side of the greenway. He also confirmed that there were no declarations of emergency prior to the crash. He said the pilot was not local to Muncie. MIE has not had a serious injury crash in over 20 years. The NTSB was on site and the Indianapolis FAA office called to have the wreckage moved to its office. The NTSB will investigate and a preliminary report will be released within a few weeks of the crash.
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