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Plane crashes on building in Naperville; two injured

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A plane crashed into Xsport Fitness off Route 59 and 75th Street in Naperville Wednesday afternoon.

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Emergency crews in west suburban Naperville have rescued both the pilot and passenger of a plane that crashed into Xsport Fitness at Route 59 and 75th Street Wednesday.

Lloyd McKee, 66, and his wife, Maureen McKee, 63, residents of Aero Estates, were taken to Edward Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, Naperville police said. No one else was injured at the fitness center.

At 12:04 p.m., Naperville police received a 911 call about a plane that had crashed into Xsport Fitness, 2780 Fitness Drive, Naperville Police Cmdr. Mike Anders said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a Piper 32. Neighbors, however, said they believed the McKees' plane was a Beechcraft. The fixed wing single-engine plane was manufactured in 1977 and is registered to a Wilmington, Del. address for Airplane Holdings Company, according to an online FAA directory.

The couple was headed to Pittsburgh, and took off from nearby Aero Estates, a neighborhood with an air strip running down the middle of it, authorities said. Aero Estates lies just to the south of Xsport Fitness.

The plane hit Xsport's building at a southwestern angle and crashed through the upper level into a basketball court. No one was inside the basketball court at the time, police said.It is now jutting out of west side of the building. The building was evacuated shortly after police and fire officials arrived on the scene. Some witnesses fled the building immediately after hearing a crash.

Cindy Munday, a trainer at the gym, said it sounded like an explosion, much like weights and dumbbells falling.

She ran into the basketball court, and looked up to see a liquid streaming down from the ceiling.

She said she thought it was water, but it turned out to be gasoline. That's when members and employees inside the gym started yelling to get out.

Employee Matt Jahns was in the parking lot loading up a truck when he saw the plane flying low.

His friend also looked on and said, " 'Look how low the plane is flying,' " Jahns said.

When the plane crashed, Jahns and his friend ran into the building and attempted to get up to the roof. Jahns said he heard someone in the plane say they were trapped.

Tassos Kalamaras of Naperville, a gym member, said he always hears planes flying low over the fitness center.

"Those planes take off from there and fly really low over the building all the time," he said. "I always hear those planes coming in so low and I always think, one day..."

Darryl Betler, a resident of Aero Estates, said Lloyd McKee is an experienced pilot.

"Whatever happened on that plane had to have been a massive fluke," Betler said.

The airfield at Aero Estates was shut down Wednesday afternoon, waiting for inspection by the FAA.

Contributing: Naperville Sun, Sun-Times Media Wire