The mangled frame of an airplane lies at the scene of a crash near Nashville's Interstate 40 Monday night.


A small plane burst into flames as it careened into a shoulder of Nashville’s Interstate 40 Monday night, killing all five people on board and prompting the partial closure of the highway as officials investigated the scene, police said.

The plane was approved for an emergency landing at John C. Tune Airport after reporting engine and power failure around 7:40 p.m., Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said. But the pilot soon told air traffic control that they wouldn’t make it to the tarmac.

Audio from the website captured the communication between the pilot and the air traffic controller before the fatal crash.

“Do you still have John Tune Airport in sight?” the air traffic controller asked.

“My engine shut off. I’m at sixteen hundred [feet]. I’m going to be landing … I don’t know where,” the pilot responded.

Witnesses reported the plane appeared to be “obviously in distress as it was coming over the interstate” and before it crashed into a grassy area behind a Costco alongside I-40 East, Aaron said.

“We are fortunate the aircraft did not hit any buildings as it went down,” Aaron said.

The aircraft exploded into flames upon impact, Nashville Fire Department spokesperson Kendra Loney said.

“That impact was catastrophic and did not leave any survivors,” Loney said.

Police have yet to publicly identify the victims and are still working to determine where the plane originated from.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the cause of the crash, he said.

The crash prompted the temporary closure of I-40 East at mile marker 202, Tennessee Department of Transportation Region 3 spokeswoman Rebekah Hammonds said on X.

Approximate location of a plane crash along Interstate 40 East on Monday night.

Witness video shows an aircraft engulfed in flames and smoke, and images shared by police capture the aircraft’s mangled frame surrounded by first responders on a grassy roadside.

Live traffic cameras also showed a large emergency vehicle response blocking all eastbound travel lanes near the crash site and a string of gridlocked traffic leading up to the shut-down stretch of I-40 East.

“If you’re traveling tonight find an alternate route,” Hammonds said, adding the investigation will be ongoing.

CNN has reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration for additional information.

CNN’s Amanda Jackson and Caroll Alvarado contributed to this report.