Nevada Plane Crash Kills 2, Injures 3, Including Good Samaritan Who Pulled Over to Help

A small plane that experienced a mechanical problem and was trying to return to the airport crashed in Nevada on Saturday night, killing two people and injuring three.

The single-engine Beechcraft Sierra took off from the Henderson Executive Airport in Henderson, Nevada, city spokeswoman Kathleen Richards tells PEOPLE.

Shortly after takeoff, the plane experienced “mechanical difficulty,” and turned around to try and land back at the airport, which sits about half-an-hour south of Las Vegas.

Richards said the plane crashed in a desert area that serves as a buffer between the airport and surrounding areas.

The aircraft caught fire after crashing, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor tells PEOPLE.

One person was pronounced dead at the scene. Three additional victims were taken to a nearby hospital, where one later died.

One of the injured victims was a bystander who saw the crash while driving by and pulled over to help. He suffered minor smoke inhalation, Richards said. The other two victims were taken to the hospital in serious condition.

The plane was headed for Gillespie Field airport in El Cajon, California, Gregor said. He also noted the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the cause of the crash could take a year or more.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the plane is registered to a company located near the Gillespie airport. The address listed is that of the flight schools California Flight Academy and California Wings of El Cajon.

A spokesperson for the Henderson Executive Airport did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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