UPDATE: Feb. 7 | 2:05 p.m.
One person is dead following a small airplane crash just south of the University of Indianapolis Tuesday afternoon. At about 3:45 p.m., Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to reports of a small plane crash on Weaver Avenue along the railroad tracks, according to IMPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Genae Cook.
When IMPD arrived at the scene, along with the Indianapolis Fire Department, officers found one person inside the plane who was pronounced dead at the scene, Cook said. The person’s identity is still yet to be released, but the information on the plane will assist investigators in identifying who was flying the plane at the time, Cook said.
Investigation of the scene is expected to commence this evening, with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducting the investigation with the IMPD’s cooperation, Cook said. The FAA will be able to determine the plane’s flight pattern and other relevant information. The IMPD Mobile Command Unit arrived just before 6 p.m. and began picking through the wreckage.
“This is gonna be a long process. It’s not going to be something that’s going to be done in an hour. Every little piece is going to have to be logged and noted during the investigation. And with everything else going on … the coroner’s office will be involved,” Cook said. “We’re grateful that the plane did not injure anybody else and obviously grateful that it did not come down on anyone’s residence right in that area or the school.”
At the scene, police had taped off the intersection of Weaver Avenue and Edwards Avenue where UIndy students and neighborhood residents gathered in an attempt to get a closer look at the wreckage. All that remained of the plane was a pile of debris sitting next to the railroad tracks, with other remnants scattered in the foliage behind one of the homes in the neighborhood.
Senior exercise science major Blake Ellis was running on East Little Piney Drive with his teammates on the track and field team when he and two others saw the plane flying low to the ground. He did not see or hear the plane crash, he said.
“We were doing our warmup, our two-mile warm-up, and about almost a mile into our warm-up a few of us guys saw a plane in the sky,” Ellis said. “It looked like it was coming in pretty hot. Looked to be diving down at about a 35 to 40 degree angle. I wasn’t sure if it was about to crash or what but it was pretty crazy.”
As a result of the crash, a train was forced to stop on the tracks, according to Cook. All trains in the area have been stopped and will not be able to travel on those tracks until the investigation is complete.
Investigators currently do not know if anyone else was involved but have determined there are no outstanding threats to the neighborhood. Cook asked that anyone in the neighborhood provide the police with any Ring camera footage or other video that could assist the investigation.
Those with information or videos of the incident should contact IMPD by calling their non-emergency line at 317-327-3811.
On Friday, Feb. 3, FOX 59 WXIN reported that the plane’s pilot and only passenger was identified by the Marion County Coroner’s Office as Shane Pennington II. The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation report stated, “Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operations.” The report lists “None” under the “Operating Certificate(s) Held” criteria for Pennington II. Pennington II was 20 years old and from Mooresville, Indiana, according to the IndyStar. The IndyStar also reported that, “Officials noted the information in the report is preliminary and subject to change.”