Officials say the crash happened around 7 a.m. Tuesday (September 20) at the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco. The Cessna Citation CJ3 passenger jet reportedly departed Chehalis and stopped in Lewiston, Idaho to pick up a doctor. When it arrived at its destination, malfunctioning landing gear sent it skidding belly down on the airport's runway and catching fire, according to Ben Shearer with the Pasco Fire Department.
All passengers and crew safely escaped the burning aircraft, and firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, officials reported.
Reporters learned the jet was carrying surgical technicians and a registered nurse working for Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute (PCLI), a surgical center with 17 locations across the Northwest. The medical professionals were heading to work in the Kennewick area before the crash.
The Cessna is one of three jets operated by the Institute, Kris Gamboa, site manager for the Kennewick location, told reporters. The PCLI employee said witnessed the plane crash and is relieved everyone is okay.
"No bruises. No bumps. Just a lot of nerves," Gamboa said. "We’re thankful that everybody was safe."
The Tri-City Airport was shut down for over an hour as crews cleaned up the debris. It reopened its terminal by 10 a.m. and two flights were delayed because of the scary crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.