The pilot and nine passengers aboard a Cessna Citation CJ3—registered as N528DV—were able to evacuate moments before the aircraft caught fire and was destroyed in the blaze after sliding on its belly following a gear-up or gear-collapse landing at Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, Washington, on Tuesday morning. The FAA type certification data sheet for the CJ3 (Model 525B) indicates it is approved for a maximum of 10 seats, but the standard cabin shown in Textron Aviation marketing literature is nine places—two cockpit seats, six cabin seats, and a belted lavatory.
According to reports, the privately-owned jet was carrying surgical technicians and a registered nurse for Chehalis, Washington-based Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute. It was flying to the Tri-Cities Airport to pick up a doctor before continuing to Lewiston, Idaho. The jet is one of three registered to and operated by the Pacific Cataract Laser Institute.
Airport fire vehicles responded quickly after the blaze started but emergency personnel did not have advance warning of issues with the aircraft. According to ATC audio tapes, the pilot did not communicate about malfunctions or concerns before landing.
The accident occurred the day before an FAA-mandated drill was scheduled at the airport to practice how to respond to an aircraft crash.