A small airplane crashed in a busy business district near downtown during rush hour, killing a small child and injuring the four other people onboard, authorities said on Wednesday.
Bystanders rushed to help those onboard the Cessna 206 after it clipped the roof of a motel and crashed in front of an unoccupied former car lot office, sparking a fire, shortly after 5 pm yesterday. No other injuries were reported.
"It was the citizens who did the work and pulled people out," said police Lt Dave Parker.
A witness, Hunter Brosh, said a girl about 10 years old was among those pulled out alive. Brosh was one of the motorists who jumped out of their cars to help get people out of the burning plane.
Parker said at least one of the injured was flown to a Seattle hospital.
The identities and hometowns of those onboard were not yet known, said Jennifer Rodi, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator.
The single-engine plane was registered to Cavner and Julian Inc, a guide and outfitting business based in Port Alsworth, Alaska. No one with the business could be reached for comment.
Rodi said it was too early to say what caused the crash. The aircraft went down after departing Merrill Field about 1.6 kilometres away.
Rodi said it was unknown who was flying the plane or if a flight plan had been filed.