UPDATED 6:45 p.m. | Authorities are investigating after a small plane registered in Bloomington crashed Tuesday along Interstate 55 near Lincoln, killing all three people on board.
The crash happened just before 9 a.m. Tuesday on Interstate 55 near one of the Lincoln exits. The plane was fully engulfed after it crashed into the middle of the interstate.
Authorities said three people were on board. The Logan County coroner is withholding the victims' identities pending family notification.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate, with the NTSB leading the investigation. Investigations can take a year or more to complete.
The NTSB said the plane was a Cessna 172, a four-seat, single-engine aircraft made in 2013. The plane is registered to JAD-AKD LLC, a Bloomington-based company, according to FAA registry records based on a tail number provided by the NTSB. One of the company's owners is also listed as the owner and CEO of the Synergy Flight Center in Bloomington.
It was unclear where the plane originated Tuesday morning.
"We have no official word on the origination of the flight," said Fran Strebing, a spokesperson for the Central Illinois Regional Airport, where Synergy is based. "As this happened off airport and even out of our county, we have not been involved in the response or investigation."
An NTSB investigator was scheduled to arrive in Illinois late Tuesday to start the on-scene phase of the investigation (the fact-gathering phase), said NTSB spokesperson Terry Williams. While on scene, the investigator will document the crash site, then the aircraft will be moved to a secure location for further examination of the aircraft and the engine.
If any witnesses are identified, they will be interviewed, Williams said. More information will be available Wednesday, he said.
Southbound I-55 was blocked until around 2:30 p.m., authorities said.