GREENBRIER - One person is dead following a plane crash at Arkavalley Airport in Greenbrier on Monday morning, the airport's manager said.
Airport manager Bill Hooten said the plane crashed about 11:20 a.m., killing the pilot, who was the only person on board.
Hooten said the crash caused a fire, but crews were on scene extinguishing the blaze.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said in an e-mail Monday afternoon that the aircraft was a single-engine Ercoupe.
Speaking by phone from the scene, Faulkner County Coroner Patrick Moore said it was too early to know what happened. He said the plane was badly burned.
Faulkner County sheriff's office spokesman Capt. Matt Rice said Federal Aviation Administration officials are on the scene and investigating the accident.
Lunsford said the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified, and would take over the investigation upon arrival. Phone calls to a NTSB official were not immediately returned.
A Faulkner County coroner's office official said the pilot's identification could not be released until it was confirmed, which the official said would be completed Tuesday morning.
Arkavalley Airpark resident Corey Johnson, who has lived in the neighborhood of the airport for about a year, said he had observed the pilot doing "touch-and-goes" — an exercise that involves landing, taking off and circling the airport.
Johnson said he saw the plane attempting to land on the north side of the runway, which he referred to as the "professional side" because of the power lines and trees in the way, as he entered his home.
"It's not a flat runway (coming from the north side), and you have to come over this hillside," Johnson said.
Most landing attempts are done on the south side of the runway, Johnson noted.
Johnson's wife said she heard what sounded like a crash, and Johnson said he immediately went to the scene and saw broken branches everywhere. He didn't comment on the condition of the plane.
"I saw the mushroom cloud going up, so I jumped in my truck and got to the scene as soon as possible to see if I could help out," Johnson said.
Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more details.