10 passengers OK after plane crash in southeast Washington

Ten passengers and the crew are ok after an airplane crash and fire Tuesday at an airport in southeast Washington state.

Tri-Cities Airport officials said the private plane departed from Chehalis, Washington, and crashed at the airport in Pasco around 7 a.m. after a landing gear failure.

Ben Shearer, a Pasco Fire Department spokesperson, said the Citation line Cessna passenger jet skidded on its belly down the airport’s primary runway, sparking a fire, The Tri-City Herald reported.

Officials said all the passengers exited the plane safely and firefighters quickly extinguished the flames.

The jet was carrying surgical technicians and a registered nurse for the Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute, officials said.

Crash investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

The jet is one of three operated by the Pacific Cataract Laser Institute, which has its headquarters in Chehalis, according to Kris Gamboa, the site manager for the Kennewick location.

"No bruises. No bumps. Just a lot of nerves," Gamboa said. "We’re thankful that everybody was safe."

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The passengers were going to work at the Kennewick location before picking up a doctor and flying to Lewiston, Idaho. The company has 17 sites across the Northwest. They perform surgeries for cataracts, glaucoma, corneal transplants and laser vision corrections.

The Pasco airport terminal remained open Tuesday morning and the airfield was back open by 10 a.m. with two flights experiencing delays because of the incident.