A man and woman from Elliott City, Maryland, were killed when a small plane owned by a flight school crashed Tuesday afternoon near an airport runway in Stevensville, police said.
Richard Hess, 63, and Janet Metz, 56, were killed in the crash, Maryland State Police said in an update Wednesday morning.
Hess was the pilot and Metz was his passenger, police said. The pair were friends, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The single-engine plane crashed about 200 yards from the runway of Bay Bridge Airport on Kent Island, landing in a field and then catching fire.
"It exploded into flames once it made contact with the ground," Cpl. DaVaughn Parker said.
Witness Denny Proffitt said he was eating lunch in his truck nearby when he saw the plane fly low over the tree line.
"A couple seconds later, I saw the smoke," he said about the crash that occurred about 12:45 p.m.
Proffitt ran through the field toward the wreckage to try to rescue the plane's passengers.
"I drove my truck over and grabbed my fire extinguisher and ran out to it and tried to put the flames out," he said. "They were both already gone."
The two-seat plane was operated by Chesapeake Sport Pilot, a flight school that operates from the airport. A man associated with the school said no student of the school was on board at the time of the crash.
The flight school said in a statement that the company will cooperate with the investigation.
"Chesapeake Sport Pilot is a close knit community of individuals who share a passion for aviation, and I know we will all grieve this loss for some time," the statement said. "We offer our help and support to all those affected."
The crash is under investigation. National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigators were notified. FAA offcials are at the scene.