A single-engine airplane crashed in a snowstorm at Bellingham International Airport, leaving a pilot with minor injuries around noon Monday.
Only one person was on board at 12:20 p.m. when the six-seat SOCATA TBM 700 turboprop plane tried to take off, said Mike Hogan, a spokesman for the Port of Bellingham.
For reasons that remain unclear, the aircraft crashed south of the main terminal, coming to a rest within feet of a pair of giant fuel tanks. The plane appeared to have serious damage to its propeller and left wing.
No details have been released about the pilot’s injuries.
Airport officials shut down the runway until further notice as Bellingham Fire Department crews started to clean up spilled fuel, Hogan said. All arriving and departing flights were grounded in the meantime.
As of Monday evening, the Port did not have an estimated time when flights would resume. Anyone waiting can check @FlyBLI on Twitter for the latest.
Federal investigators were inspecting the crash scene Monday. At the time of the crash visibility was low, about a quarter-mile, because of freezing fog and steady snowfall, according to the National Weather Service.
Crews were planning to remove up to 280 gallons of spilled aviation fuel, though that would be the worst-case scenario, said Larry Altose, a spokesman for the state Department of Ecology. So far there is no sign that fuel entered the storm water system.
Transport Canada records show the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based plane was built in 2003. It has been registered to its current owner for about 1 1/2 years.