Two people were injured after a plane crashed into the XSport Fitness around noon today while taking off from a nearby subdivision.
Lloyd McKee, 66, and his wife, Maureen McKee, 63, of Aero Estates — a local subdivision which includes a small residential airport — took off shortly before noon in their private airplane and were heading to Pittsburgh, Penn., said Naperville Police Cmdr. Mike Anders at the scene.
Lloyd McKee was flying at the time, according to a city of Naperville news release.
Emergency personnel received the 911 call at 12:04 p.m. indicating the couple had crashed into the second level of XSport Fitness at 2780 Fitness Dr. The gym is near 75th Street and Route 59 in Naperville.
The McKees — pinned inside the plane — were speaking to first responders after the crash and the aircraft sustained heavy damage, officials said. Both were removed from the plane and taken to Edward Hospital for treatment of musculo-skeletal injuries that officials said were "non-life threatening."
During the crash, the aircraft's left wing separated from the fuselage and became lodged in the upper portion of the building, stated the news release.
Additional information about the make and model of the plane, or how the crash occurred was unavailable today, but the Federal Aviation Administration arrived on scene to investigate around 1:30 p.m.
There is no record of a plane being registered to either of the McKees in the FAA's online database, but the plane may be registered under a different name or through a company.
As the crash occurred, about 280 people working out in the fitness center were asked to evacuate. No one inside was injured and "we were very fortunate with that," Anders said.
Tasos Kalamaras, of Naperville, said he was doing push-ups on the opposite side of the gym when the plane hit the building.
"I heard a loud noise," he said. "It sounded like someone dropping dumbbells down the stairs."
Others, like 36-year-old Erika Baloun, of Aurora, were working out much closer to where the plane hit the building. She was doing an ab workout on the second story of the facility in an area that overlooks the basketball courts, she said, noting that the plane crash was directly above the courts. Her 3-year-old son, Austin, was in the day care center.
"They got the kids out so fast they forgot to put their shoes on," Baloun said, adding that she felt relieved to see her son outside. "I guess I'll have to buy him a new pair of shoes."
She said she didn't even realize a plane crashed into the building until she saw the damage from outside.
"I heard this loud noise and then I looked over at the basketball court in the gym … powder, which I guess was from the ceiling, was falling down but nothing was collapsed," Baloun said. "Then I saw water pouring in and I thought, 'Did a pipe burst?' That's when I smelled the gasoline."
Naperville resident Stacey Snyder has been a member of Xsport Fitness for about three years, she said, and she never thought planes in the area would pose a safety threat to her while working out. When the crash occurred, she was walking out of the bathroom adjacent to the basketball courts on the first floor. She felt something shaking, she said, and smelled gasoline.
"I grabbed my stuff and got out and ran," she said, adding that she saw what she thought was water cascading onto the courts."I didn't realize it was a plane."
Many onlookers — some who were inside and others who came from nearby businesses or homes — stood in the streets for hours following the accident. Those with personal items inside the gym would be allowed to retrieve them later, emergency personnel said.
Roadways in the area were barricaded, yellow police tape cordoned off the scene and a swarm of about six helicopters buzzed overhead.
The Naperville Police Department, Illinois State Police and several other state and national agencies remained on scene around 3:30 p.m. today. The Naperville Fire Department special response teams — which included 27 personnel and two ladder trucks — planned to stay at XSport for several hours securing the scene and cleaning up the gasoline, Anders said.
Structural engineers assessed the damage this evening and decided they must remove a portion of the the building's façade to take away the airplane, stated the city's news release. Those operations are ongoing and the FAA, which is now in charge of the investigation, remains on scene.