Three Dead in Small Plane Crash in Rantoul
(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)
The names of three people who died in a fiery plane crash Sunday in central Illinois have been released.
Rantoul police have not released the names of the people on the plane, but multiple news reports cite a family member who identified the victims as Champaign residents Jon Buerkett, 56; his wife, Dana Buerkett, 47; and their daughter, Morgan Buerkett, 19.
According to an official with the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Piper PA 46 airplane went down shortly after takeoff at the Rantoul Airport about 125 miles southwest of Chicago. Agency spokesman Roland Herwig said federal authorities were notified of the crash before 10 a.m. Sunday, and that the plane was destroyed by fire.
Rantoul Police Chief Paul Farber said severe weather was rolling into the area at the time of the crash.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
Autopsies are scheduled Monday, according to Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup.