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May 15, 2017

2 dead as Learjet out of Philadelphia crashes near Teterboro Airport

A small jet out of Philadelphia International Airport crashed Monday afternoon on its approach to Runway 1 at Teterboro airport in North Jersey.

The Learjet 35 aircraft went down about a quarter mile from the airport in Carlstadt, Bergen County, around 3:30 p.m. Two crew members were killed. It wasn't clear if anyone on the ground was injured.

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Weather forecasters had issued a warning about strong winds of 15 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, just minutes before the crash.

The plane crashed into a building near the airport, sparking a fire that sent thick, black smoke spewing into the air, authorities said.

Emergency responders reached the scene a short time later and were working to extinguish the blaze.

Joe Orlando, a spokesman for the town of Carlstadt, said the jet crashed next to a township facility, but no one in that building was harmed inside. He said pieces of melted engine could be seen in the wreckage, along with wheels and part of the fuselage.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA is en route to the scene, according to a spokeswoman.

Local authorities will release information about who was on board the aircraft, according to the FAA. 

The FAA spokeswoman said she will update "when we get new information."

Steve Case, an entrepreneur and co-founder of AOL, wrote in an Instagram post that the plane appeared to have missed a turn and crashed a few hundred yards from the airport. He was aboard another plane at the airport at the time.

A Carlstadt police spokesman said the jet appeared to be listing to its side before it went down.

The Learjet 35 can be configured to seat between six and eight passengers. The model was last manufactured in 1994.

The jet had flown from Teterboro to Bedford, Massachusetts, early Monday morning. It then flew to Philadelphia later Monday morning before leaving for Teterboro around 3 p.m.

Teterboro, which is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the oldest operating airport in the New York City area. The busy site is the scene of dozens of takeoffs and landings each day and is a favorite landing spot for corporate and other luxury jets.

The airport was the scene of a midair crash that killed nine people in 2009, when a single-engine plane and a sightseeing helicopter collided over the Hudson River.

Twenty people were injured there in 2005 when a corporate jet aborted its takeoff and crashed into a nearby warehouse.