MOUNT PLEASANT - A 20-year-old James Island High School graduate hoping to get into military special forces and his flight instructor were killed during a training flight Thursday.

The two-seat Cessna 150M crashed around 11:30 a.m. during takeoff from Mount Pleasant Regional Airport, according to a statement from the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

The student was Matt Gaither of Johns Island, according to Charleston County Deputy Coroner Kelly Kraus. The instructor was Graham Borland, 33, of North Charleston. Both men died at the scene from their injuries, she said.

Gaither graduated from James Island Charter High School in 2012. He was a linebacker on the football team and also was on the wrestling team. He was taking flight lessons to improve his chances of getting into special forces, his father, Cole Gaither, said by telephone from New York.

The plane, with a tail number N66241, was registered to Hanger Aviation Inc. of Johns Island.

Clark Hanger, who is a partner of Cole Gaither's at the company, said the Cessna had been on loan for two weeks to Matt Gaither and a flight instructor in Mount Pleasant. Hanger said he did not know of their specific plans Thursday other than they were taking a training flight.

Hanger said the ordeal was "tragic" for him and his coworkers.

"The plane had no history of issues," Hanger said. "It was licensed, and there was nothing out of the ordinary with the plane."

Before Thursday, five plane crashes had been reported at the airport since 2000. Four of them were fatal.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were summoned to investigate Thursday's crash.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the single-engine Cessna crashed while taking off from the airport on Faison Road. The aircraft went down 300 yards from the airport's only runway, Mount Pleasant police said.

Joe Bustos, a pilot in Mount Pleasant, told the Moultrie News that he watched the airplane struggling to get into the air. It turned around to return to the airport, then nosedived into the ground, Bustos told the newspaper.

The NTSB will determine what caused the plane to crash, Bergen said.

Al Britnell, deputy director of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, said the plane went down near the north end of the runway and that access to the area had been an issue for firefighters.

"It's out in the middle of the swamp," Britnell said. "It's difficult to get everything out there."

Town firefighters and police officers would control the scene, Britnell said, until officials from the NTSB and FAA can reach the site.

Dave Munday, Prentiss Findlay, Andy Paras and Warren Wise contributed to this report. Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at