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Howell — A small plane crashed Tuesday in Livingston County, killing the two people who were on board, authorities said.

Livingston County Sheriff's Office deputies responded about 11:20 a.m. to the scene near West Highland and Tooley in Howell Township, the office said. The Howell Area Fire Department and the Livingston County EMS also responded to the scene.

According to a preliminary investigation, a single-engine, four-passenger Aero Commander was attempting to land at the Spencer J. Hardy Airport when it crashed, officials said in a statement.

They also said deputies will be helping with the investigation, but the federal government will lead the probe. Federal Aviation Administration officials said they had investigators on the way to the crash site and the National Transportation Safety Board planned to investigate as well.

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Steve Ripper, a pilot who lives near Livingston County Airport heard the crash, speculates on possible cause. Louis Aguilar, The Detroit News

As of 3 p.m., FAA investigators were still on scene of the crash and the aircraft had not been removed. About 2:30 p.m., two victims were taken by ambulance to University of Michigan Hospital for autopsies. Livingston County contracts with the hospital for medical examinations.

“We don’t know if he was taking off or landing,” Livingston County Undersheriff Jeff Warder said. “The FAA will make those determinations.”

Livingston County EMS Director Jeffrey Boyd said the crash occurred at the north end of the airport. The EMS headquarters is adjacent to the airport on Tooley Road.

“Both occupants were deceased,” he said. “All information has been turned over to federal investigators.”

Jenny Harrison, who lives off Tooley Road, was working on her car in the driveway about 11:30 a.m. when she noticed a helicopter circling over the airport.

“I hadn’t heard anything, it just felt weird like something was going on,” she said.

Her mother, Patty Londy, returned from a shopping trip at Costco and saw the downed aircraft.

“We’ve lived here for 28 years and there have been three or four crashes,” Londy said. “I hope they are all right.”

When told two victims had died, Londy covered her mouth with a hand and whispered, “Oh my God. I feel so sorry for them.”

The plane crash isn't the first in Michigan this month. A float plane crashed into two boats Saturday afternoon at a West Bloomfield Township lake. No serious injuries were reported.

Also, on July 27, two men were injured after their single-engine, two-seat plane crashed on Littlefield Lake in northern Isabella County. 

Marine deputies patrolling the area on Jet Skis witnessed the plane attempt to take off from the lake and when the plane became airborne, it appeared to struggle to gain altitude. 

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