WHITEHALL, MI (WILX) -- The pilot of a small plane is dead after the aircraft crashed into a water tower Monday in Whitehall, Michigan.
Authorities say an 80-year-old pilot was flying the plane when it crashed into the water tower and burst into flames.
The Taylorcraft BC-12 plane had departed from an airport in Fremont about 45 minutes before the crash.
Whitehall Police Chief Roger Squiers says there didn't appear to be any engine problems.
The pilot is believed to be from the area and had just taken off from a near-by airport about 45 minutes before the crash.
Firefighters extinguished the flames and determined the pilot was deceased at the scene.
It's unclear what caused the crash into the water tower.
The plane went down near a school, but no students or staff were affected by the crash.
The city of Whitehall has isolated the water tower from its system and shut it off until inspectors can evaluate the structure.
The water tower is in a populated area. Squiers says the potential for injuries on the ground was "very real" if the plane had avoided the tower and crashed nearby.
The National Transportation Safety Board says it will investigate the crash.
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