2 killed in DeKalb County plane crash

April 12, 2009 (SANDWICH, Ill.) The plane went down early just before 2 p.m. Saturday, crashing into a field in the town of Sandwich, about 50 miles southwest of Chicago.

Federal investigators spent much of Saturday evening gathering evidence while trying to figure out what went wrong.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened when the single-engine plane, piloted by 53-year-old Sandwich business owner and resident Randall Hougham, crashed into a cornfield just short of a nearby landing strip Saturday. Both Hougham and his passenger, 22-year-old Lauren Hamilton, died in the accident.

"When we first noticed that we saw it was still on fire, the emergency crews had just arrived at the scene, and they were able to extinguish it pretty quickly," said Dan Purdue, witness.

The plane, described as a 1946 fixed wing single-engine craft, went down just behind the local subdivision, barely missing residents' backyards.

"This time of year farmers do a lot of control burns. So, I thought maybe it was something that got away, and I sent the kids over to see what it was, and they said a plane had crashed," said Tim Simmons, witness.

Investigators have not yet disclosed whether Hougham's plane was on approach to the airport or just taking off, but witnesses say they saw the plane coming in from the west just before the crash.

"We were able to look at the aircraft on site, and get a wreckage description, and do a preliminary check of the flight controls on the airplane, and also looked at the engine," said Jim Silliman, NTSB investigator.

The aircraft has now been taken to a local airport where the NTSB says it will take a more in depth look at the wreckage on Monday.

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