A small plane has crashed into a water tower near school athletic fields in western Michigan, killing the 80-year-old pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it will investigate the crash, which occurred Monday in Whitehall, 55 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.

The Taylorcraft BC-12 plane had departed from an airport in Fremont about 45 minutes before the crash. Whitehall Police Chief Roger Squiers says there didn't appear to be any engine problems.

The water tower is in a populated area. Squiers says the potential for injuries on the ground was "very real" if the plane had avoided the tower and crashed nearby.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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