WEST CALDWELL - Police say a pilot was killed when a small plane crashed in West Caldwell shortly after takeoff Saturday morning.

The single-engine Cessna went down near Passaic Avenue, in a wooded area behind a Kiddie Academy preschool location.

The location of the fiery crash is not far from the Essex County Airport, where the plane had taken off at around 10 a.m.

Authorities say the 50-year-old pilot was headed to Teterboro Airport to pick up a passenger.

He reported mechanical difficulties shortly before the crash, officials say.

The pilot's identity has not yet been released, but officials say he was the sole person aboard the plane.

It's unclear what caused the crash. The FAA and the NTSB are investigating.


Editor's Note: Earlier, News 12 was told by authorities that two people had been killed in the crash. Officials now say one person was killed.