Olympic runner killed when plane crashes in Sedona - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Olympic runner killed when plane crashes in Sedona

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SEDONA, Ariz. -

The wife of a two-time Olympic distance runner Pat Porter confirms her husband, her 15-year-old son and her son's friend were the three people who died in a fiery plane crash in Sedona, Ariz.

A tragic sight in one of Arizona's most beautiful towns -- 3 people killed when a plane crashed off the end of a runway in Sedona.

The plane burst into flames on impact at the Sedona airport. It went down around 9 a.m. Thursday during takeoff. The plane had trouble taking off and went past the runway down a cliff.

When you see a close-up of the wreckage, you'll see why no one could've survived.

One of the victims is two-time Olympian Patrick Porter. Almost nothing is left of his plane after it burst into flames.

"It went for takeoff and then it went over the side and we saw a big explosion and black smoke," describes witness Holly McKusick.

McKusich works at the Mesa Grill, a restaurant right next to the airport. She watched the plane try to take off and fail.

"Everybody stood up and gasped and screamed. My boss called 911 and I grabbed the fire extinguisher and ran out there."

The plane ended up about a mile down the cliff, completely engulfed in flames. The twin engine prop plane was registered to Olympic runner Patrick Porter, 53, who lived in Albuquerque. His wife Trish Porter confirmed to FOX 10 on Thursday he was on the plane.

Porter ran in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics and competed in the 10,000-meter run.

The two others killed in the crash were Porter's 15-year-old son Connor and his friend, 14-year-old Albuquerque Academy classmate Connor Mantsch.

Pilots say the Sedona airport can be very tricky when it comes to take off and landings -- that's because this airport is at such a high altitude.

The airport sits on a mesa almost 5,000 feet above sea level.

"You always have gusts here. Updrafts downdrafts it's just a predicament, all pilots have that taking off and landing here," says pilot Stephen Loftin.

The FAA and NTSB have been called in to investigate.

Trish Porter held a news conference Friday to address the crash. Trish is also a former Olympian. She met Pat during a pre-Olympic training camp for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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