ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado family is in mourning after a pilot was killed in a plane crash.

Aaron Waters, 46, from Parker had been flying home from Wichita, Kansas, when his twin engine Cessna went down Friday afternoon. He was supposed fly into Centennial Airport.

Aaron Waters (credit: CBS)

Aaron Waters (credit: CBS)

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration began their investigation on Saturday to determine what caused the crash.

CBS4’s Melissa Garcia spoke with devastated members of Waters’ family who said he left behind a wife and children.

“Don’t want to say exactly what I said but, ‘Oh my God, there’s an airplane that’s going straight down,'” a witness said.

The scene on Friday (credit: CBS)

The scene on Friday (credit: CBS)

Residents of a Wichita neighborhood saw what was happening before it happened.

“The plane itself was not spinning, it just flew straight into the ground,” another witness said.

Video taken by one of the first witnesses at the scene shows the plane scattered in pieces.

The NTSB is in the first stages of collecting data and documenting the wreckage.

“We’re looking at all aspects of the investigation and the airplane,” NTSB investigator Courtney Liedler said. “We’ll be looking at the environment, the pilot. So again, we’re just collecting initial data at this point.”

That includes radio traffic capturing the pilot’s last moments before the crash.

“This is an emergency, I’ve got to come in,” Waters is heard saying.

Shortly after he crashed into a residential ravine and narrowly missed nearby homes.

The scene on Friday (credit: CBS)

The scene on Friday (credit: CBS)

“There was no fire, so it tells me that he knew he was going to crash, he knew what was going to happen, he put it where he wanted to, but he killed all the power to the airplane right before contact because there was no fire no explosion,” another witness said.

Witnesses are calling Waters a hero for avoiding homes.

“He aimed that thing right where he hit it and he did a good job, and he saved lives,” a witness said.

Family members said Saturday would have been Waters’ 47th birthday.

The NTSB expects to release a preliminary report in about a week and the final report from six months to a year down the road.

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