A single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza V35 crash-landed at the Bayside Waters mobile home in Clearwater, Florida, on Thursday evening (Pictures: AP)
A small plane crashed and burned a waterfront mobile home park in Florida, killing several people.
The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza V35 crash-landed at the Bayside Waters mobile home park in Clearwater shortly after 7pm on Thursday and set off a blaze, according to Fire Chief Scott Ehlers.
At the same time that the fire was reported, a St Pete–Clearwater International Airport tower received mayday radio signals from a pilot just before the plane went off radar roughly three miles north of a runway, he said.
Firefighters and aircraft response vehicles arrived at the trailer park at 7.15pm to find four residences ‘heavily involved’ in the blaze. Fire crews ‘quickly extinguished’ it within seven minutes, Ehlers said.
Investigators look at the burned out remains of a mobile home after a plane crash on Thursday (Picture: AP)
Two people at the mobile home park and the pilot were killed.
The plane crashed into a double-wide mobile home that burst into flames and ‘the aircraft was found in the one structure’, Ehlers said.
Mobile home resident Joe Miller, 72, said he was falling asleep when he heard an ‘unbelievable roar’ and was hurled to the floor and hit with glass and insulation.
Miller, who has lived at the mobile park for eight years, managed to escape his trailer despite the door being ablaze.
An aerial drone shows the scene of the plane crash in Clearwater, Florida(Picture: AP)
‘The roofs blown off and I don’t know what’s left inside,’ Miller told the Tampa Bay Times. ‘I just know I’m lucky to be here.’
Three other homes at the park were damaged, Ehlers said, and no occupants inside were hurt.
The identities of the victims were not immediately released.
Steven Ascari, 25, who resides at an apartment complex near the mobile home, said he went outside to look after hearing what he thought was a car accident.
A plume of smoke rises after a small plane crashes in a trailer park in Clearwater, Florida (Picture: Reuters)
‘I’ve never seen a fire like that. Ever,’ he told the newspaper.
‘It’s hard to describe what it looked like seeing this mobile home community go up in flames. We’re just praying that everyone’s safe. That’s all we can think about.’
An investigation into the crash is being led by the National Transportation Safety Board, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The crash happened just a couple weeks after a surgeon flying a twin-engine Cessna C310 and his two young sons were killed in a crash near the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.
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