The five men killed when their Beechcraft B20 plane (similar to this one) crashed in Little Rock, Ark., on Wednesday were responding to an industrial explosion, their employer, consulting firm CTEH confirmed Thursday. Photo courtesy of Air Glaciers/Wikimedia Commons
Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The five victims killed in a plane crash in Arkansas on Wednesday afternoon were members of a consulting firm who were responding to an explosion in Ohio earlier in the week.
The five men were employed by Arkansas-based CTEH, which confirmed their identities Thursday. The company provides environmental, engineering and toxicology experts who are able to deploy at short notice.
They were traveling to Columbus, Ohio, on their way to the site of explosion at a metal factory Monday afternoon near Cleveland. The explosion left more than a dozen workers injured, at least one critically, while sending large plumes of smoke into the evening sky.
The twin-engine Beechcraft BE20 crashed shortly after taking off from the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Ark., on Wednesday afternoon, killing all on board. CTEH has its head office in Little Rock.
"It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the passing of our colleagues -- Gunter Beaty, Kyle Bennett, Micah Kendrick, Sean Sweeney and Glenmarkus Walker. They were valuable members of our team and CTEH family," the company said in a statement Thursday.
"We ask that you join us in praying for their families, friends and everyone here at CTEH during this difficult time."
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived at the crash site.
There were reports of thunderstorms in the area at the time of the crash.
An NTSB spokesperson told Newsweek it expects to publish a preliminary report 15 days after the crash.
The accident has sparked several conspiracy theories, with many of those wrongly believing the men were responding to the massive train derailment earlier this month in East Palestine, Ohio.