Single-engine plane with 2 passengers bursts into flames after crashing onto North Carolina freeway

A single-engine plane with two passengers crash-landed onto a busy freeway in North Carolina on Thursday night, erupting into a fiery wreckage as first responders raced into action.

The Diamond DA-40 crashed onto Interstate 26 near Asheville Regional Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed in a statement.

The condition of the passengers is unknown — but according to a recording of a dispatch call from Buncombe County Fire Department, both occupants managed to leave the plane.

The pilot made a distress call to Asheville Regional Airport just before the plane came down, according to audio recorded by the Live ATC website and published by WRAL.

Plane Crash Highway Asheville
Firefighters attempt to extinguish the flames after a light aircraft crashed onto a highway in Asheville, N.C., on Thursday.Sebastian Restrepo / Facebook

The airport confirmed that it was hailed by a small plane requesting possible assistance at 8:10 p.m. Thursday. “The aircraft did not make it to our airfield, and instead was forced to land on Interstate 26 north of the airport,” a spokesperson said.

A motorist who witnessed the aftermath of the crash shared video footage with NBC News showing the plane on fire, with large plumes of smoke reaching into the sky. As the driver passes the blaze on the opposite side of the freeway an explosion can clearly be heard.

Interstate 26 is likely to remain closed between Airport Road and Long Shoals Road until at least 11 a.m. on Friday to allow for power lines to be repaired, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said in a statement.