EAST HAVEN, Conn. – A small plane crashed in a working-class neighborhood near an airport on Friday and engulfed two houses in flames, likely killing up to six people, authorities said.
The multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck the small homes a few blocks from Tweed New Haven Airport as it went in for a landing, lodging its left wing in one house and its right wing in the other.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Robert Gretz said Friday night there were unconfirmed casualty reports of two or three people in the plane and two or three people in one of the homes. He said local and state authorities were at the scene looking for victims.
Soon after the crash, officials had said at least three people were missing: the pilot and two children, ages 1 and 13, in one of the houses. Gov. Dannel Malloy later said the plane also may have been carrying two passengers but officials were still trying to verify whether that was true.
East Haven fire Chief Douglas Jackson said Friday afternoon: “We haven’t recovered anybody at this point, and we presume there is going to be a very bad outcome.”
Less than two hours later, Malloy said rescuers had spotted two bodies, including one of an adult, but hadn’t recovered them. The plane’s fuselage had entered one of the houses, and the recovery effort was focusing on the home’s basement, he said.
Mayor Joseph Maturo said later that the houses were still unstable and crews had not completed a full search.
The 10-seater plane, a Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B, flew out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and crashed at 11:25 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Tweed’s airport manager, Lori Hoffman-Soares, said the pilot had been in communication with air traffic control and hadn’t issued any distress calls.
“All we know is that it missed the approach and continued on,” she said.
A neighbor, David Esposito, said he heard a loud noise and then a thump: “No engine noise, nothing.”
“A woman was screaming her kids were in there,” he said.