A small plane crashed in an industrial area of Linden and burst into flames on Sunday, seriously injuring a Virginia couple who were on board.

Authorities said the victims — Jason Snyder, 33, who was piloting the plane, and his 34-year-old wife, Jennifer Snyder — were conscious when they were found lying next to the single-engine plane. They were later flown by helicopter to University Hospital in Newark, where they were listed in critical condition late Sunday night.

However, officials said both were expected to recover from their injuries.

Authorities said the couple, who live in Hampton, Va., had been stranded in New Jersey for two days due to the winter storm that hit the region, but decided to fly out of Linden Airport on Sunday afternoon after conditions improved.

The crash, which occurred around 4 p.m., came shortly after take off, authorities said. Witnesses said they saw the Beechcraft Sundowner Model 23 flying low before it slammed into a cluster of trees in a railroad right of way near Linden Avenue, which is not far from the small general aviation airport along Routes 1 & 9.

The aircraft then burst into flames, destroying most of the plane, but firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze while emergency responders attended to the victims. The plane did not hit anything or anyone on the ground, authorities said.

Alison Duquette, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman, said the pilot had reported mechanical problems shortly before the crash occurred, but said the cause of the accident remained under investigation.