At 1818 Central time, the airplane collided with trees while maneuvering. The airplane sustained substantial damage and a post-crash fire ensued. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was filed. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured.
A witness stated the pilot arrived at a maintenance facility to pick up the airplane. He conducted a prefight inspection in the hangar and the airplane was towed outside. The pilot performed his checks, started the engine and taxied for takeoff, then departed. The witness walked back inside the hangar and heard two loud explosions. An employee from the fixed base operator came by and stated the airplane had crashed in a wooded area off the departure end of the runway.