TITUSVILLE, Fla. – One of the two men severely injured and burned in a Titusville plane crash Saturday morning is barely hanging on, a Titusville rescue official said.

Although both men are listed in “grave condition,” one of them suffered more burns than the other.

“We’re not expecting him to make it,” said Scott Gaenicke, public information officer and division chief for Titusville Fire and Emergency Medical Services.

Two other people were killed in the crash at Arthur Dunn Airpark about 8:30 a.m.

The victims’ identities have not been released.

According to federal records, a tail number from the survivors’ plane shows it was registered to Ulrich Christen, of Sebastian, Fla..

It was unknown if Christen was involved in the crash.

It appears that one of the planes, attempting to land too fast, then veered off the runway and hit another plane that had just landed, Gaenicke said.

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The plane then skid before it flipped, Gaenicke said.

Federal Aviation Administration officials are investigating the crash scene at the airport, which has been closed, Gaenicke said.

Both planes were most likely headed to the monthly breakfast fly-in at the airport, sponsored by the Titusville Experimental Aircraft Association, said chapter member Larry Gilbert.

“I was manning one of the griddles, cooking pancakes, when I heard the first impact,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert said he heard two crashes just seconds apart.

Area pilots were visiting the Titusville airpark during a monthly breakfast fly-in held by the local Experimental Aircraft Association, Mathis said.

Jeff Mathis, a Kennedy Space Center firefighter, was having breakfast at the airpark with his family when he heard a loud crash.

“We heard a crash on the other side of the hangar. I just saw two planes about 200 feet apart on fire,” Mathis said. “One was upside down and the other was right side up.”

Mathis said he and his two sons ran to the crash site, where they saw a man on fire, trying to crawl from the cockpit.

Mathis and his sons, along with some others, helped pull that man and a second person – the pilot – out of the plane to safety. One of the men was on fire, so the rescuers used jackets to extinguish the flames.

“I was in tunnel vision just dealing with the people in the plane. One guy probably had burns on about 70 percent of his body,” Mathis said.

The second man was conscious when he was pulled out of the plane, Mathis said.

One of the planes was a single-engine aircraft registered to Christen Air Inc. in Wilmington, Del., according to the FAA’s online aircraft registry.

Gaenicke said both of the planes involved are considered experimental aircraft.

“They’re not like your off-the-shelf, already pre-manufactured (aircraft),” Gaenicke said. “These are home-built type aircraft that one would be as a kit and put together.”

This is the first crash during the fly-in, which has been held the first Saturday of each month for at least eight years, Gilbert said.


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