This frame grab from video provided by WDIV-, WJBK-, and WXYZ-TV, shows emergency personnel examining a plane crash in which a pilot and three passengers were killed shortly after takeoff June 21, 2013, from an airport northwest of Detroit in Waterford Township, Mich.
WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich.- A pilot and three passengers on a private plane died Friday soon after taking off from an airport about 30 miles northwest of Detroit, officials said.
A person on the plane "requested permission to turn around and land, so that would indicate something was wrong," said J. David VanderVeen, Oakland County central services director. "You don't request permission to return if everything is going well."
The names of the victims, three men and one woman, will not be released until family members have been notified, officials said.
"It's a very sad day for the airport," said VanderVeen, who previously managed the airport for 25 years. The pilot took off from a runway designed for smaller planes and reached an altitude of about 100 feet before requesting permission to return.
The Cessna 172 crashed at about 1:40 p.m. ET in a field. Three people on board were killed instantly. The fourth died later at an area hospital.
The last crash at Oakland County International Airport was in 2006 when a flight instructor and his student were killed in a single-engine plane belonging to a flight school. Since then, officials have had 1.1 million plane flights with no incidents, VanderVeen said.
"It's a successful, safe airport," the second busiest airport in Michigan behind Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in the Detroit suburb of Romulus, Mich, he said.The Oakland County airport handles private and corporate flights.
Federal Aviation Administration investigators were en route to the airport and National Transportation and Safety Board investigators are expected to arrive Saturday.
Contributing: The Associated Press