LINDEN - Investigators say a plane involved in a fatal crash in Linden made a sharp descent just before it struck the ground.

A flight instructor was killed and his student was injured when a small plane crashed just after taking off from Linden Airport in Union County at approximately 1 p.m. Friday. Airport officials say Craig MacCallum, 58, of Montclair, and an unidentified student were aboard the two-seat Diamond DA 20-C1 training aircraft. It is believed MacCallum was piloting the plane at the time of the crash.

Witnesses observed the plane, which was owned and operated by a company called Best in Flight, struggling to maintain altitude shortly before it crashed onto railroad tracks near West Edgar Road.

Investigators say MacCallum was partially ejected and the student, believed to be a 19-year-old from Monmouth Junction, was trapped and had to be pulled out. The student was taken to University Hospital in Newark, where he is listed in critical condition.

As for MacCallum, he had been flying since he was 16, and spent 30 years as a recreational pilot before becoming an instructor around 2007.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have begun to look over the site to determine what caused the plane to crash.

For extended Chopper 12 footage over the crash scene, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.