FAA: Citation landed with Gear Up before catching fire in eastern Washington

Investigators are trying to determine the specific cause of a crash and fire after a Cessna Citation landed with its gear at Tri-Cities Airport (KPSC) in Pasco, Wash., the FAA said Thursday.

Immediately after Tuesday’s crash, all 10 passengers and crew escaped the twin-engine jet safely without injury, according to an FAA statement posted at FLYING. The Cessna 525B “landed safely with its undercarriage retracted,” the statement said, “before the aircraft caught fire.”

Firefighters received no warning

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, the FAA said, and the NTSB will lead the investigation. Photos from local firefighters showed the plane still sitting on the runway shortly after the Citation arrived on a flight from Chehalis-Centralia Airport (KCLS) in Chehalis, Wash., approximately 200 nm east. west of Pasco.

The Cessna 525B “landed safely with its undercarriage retracted,” the FAA said, “before the plane caught fire.” [Courtesy: Pasco Washington Fire Department]

Fire department spokesman Ben Shearer said FLYING that firefighters received no warning that the aircraft was in trouble, which delayed their ability to position emergency equipment near runway 3L during landing.

At the time of the crash, a fire crew was seated inside the airfield station, Shearer said. “All of a sudden they heard something that didn’t sound right. They turned around, looked out the window and saw the plane sliding down the runway. Around that time, the tower picked up the emergency phone.

Shearer said firefighters immediately contacted the passengers and crew, “making sure they were okay, separating them from the plane.” Rescue trucks extinguished the fire despite great effort,” Shearer said. “We assessed everyone, and no one was injured or required transport or medical attention.”

The terminal building remained open during the emergency response and the airfield was returned to service a few hours after the accident.

The jet landed on runway 3L. [Courtesy: FAA]

Nurse and surgical technicians among the passengers

The plane was reportedly operated by the Chehalis-based Pacific Cataract Laser Institute. The passengers included surgical technicians and a registered nurse who were traveling to a company office in nearby Kennewick, Washington.

Pacific Cataract Laser Institute operates several offices in the area, according to its website. The company performs eye surgeries and other treatments for conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and LASIK vision corrections.

Kevin A. Perras