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Fatal Crash at Airport Without Traffic Control Tower

Two firefighters are dead after a fire that resulted from a collision between two small aircraft at Marion Municipal airport.

Kyle M. Hibst and David Wittkamper were serving as volunteer firefighters for Madison County's Pipe Creek Fire Department when their plane collided with another during takeoff. Wittkamper and Hibst, both 31, were aboard a single-engine Cessna 150 when it struck the tail of a Cessna Citation jet that was taxiing the runway after having just landed.

The small airport, located about 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis, does not have a traffic control tower. According to a spokesperson from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), "Pilots using the field are expected to announce their intentions on a common radio frequency and to coordinate with one another while on the ground and in the traffic pattern."

The Pipe Creek Fire Department posted a public statement mourning the loss:

Chief Richard Shepherd is saddened by the loss of these two great individuals who have given so much back to their family, community and this fire department. The members of the Pipe Creek Fire Department are all at a loss as they come together to help each other thru this difficult time. Chief Shepherd is grateful for the outpouring of support from the emergency services in Madison County. Please respect the privacy of our firefighters, and the families who have lost loved ones tonight.

As is customary in these tragedies, an investigation is underway by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Potential Preaching Angles: When we try to navigate danger on our own, we are blind to the dangers around us. We may not see what others can see around us.

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