BIRCHWOOD, Alaska, May 28 (UPI) -- A family of five was killed when a small plane crashed and exploded on railroad tracks near the Birchwood Airport, police in Anchorage, Alaska, said.
Pilot Lonn Greiner, 46, of Eagle River; his 69-year-old mother, Carolyn Greiner; and three of his children, Glory, 13, Nathan, 11, and Grace, 10, all died Friday when his Cessna 180 crashed en route to Soldovia for the Memorial Day weekend, police told the Anchorage Daily News.
"It just looked like he couldn't push the nose down," Brad Bartlett, a fellow pilot and friend of Greiner, told the newspaper. "I watched it, but it's hard to say what happened. The engine was running fine; there was nothing wrong with the engine.
"We went running over there, but they were dead on impact; it was engulfed in flames," Bartlett said.
"Right now we can't speculate on anything with regards to circumstances," National Transportation Safety Board investigator Chris Shaver told the newspaper. "We'll be looking at all aspects -- man, machine and environment."
The Alaska Railroad shut down rail traffic for a couple hours while investigators examined the wreckage.