EAST HAVEN, Conn. – Two bodies have been found after a small plane crashed into two homes near a Connecticut airport Friday, and authorities fear the death toll could rise.
Speaking in East Haven, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told reporters that emergency workers have “visuals” on two bodies in the basement of one of the houses, according to a Reuters report.
The multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck the small homes in a working class neighborhood while trying to land in rainy weather at Tweed New Haven Airport.
Firefighters found both homes engulfed in flames when they arrived.
Authorities at the scene initially said there were three missing victims, including one person on the plane and two children in one of the houses, ages 1 and 13.
“We presume there is going to be a very bad outcome,” East Haven Fire Chief Douglas Jackson said.
Emergency crews were not sure if there were other people on the plane with the pilot, and the destruction at the scene made rescue workers’ jobs more challenging, the governor said.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B aircraft flew out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and crashed as it approached Tweed New Haven at 11:25 a.m. Friday.
Neighbor David Esposito said he heard a loud noise and then a thump. “No engine noise, nothing,” he said.
He also said he heard a woman screaming that her children were inside the burning home. He said he ran into the upstairs of the house, where the woman believed her children were, but they could not find them. They returned downstairs to search, but he dragged the woman out when the flames became too strong.
Frank Diglio, 55, told the Hartford Courant that he was driving nearby and pulled over when he saw people screaming and crying. Diglio said he and another man tried digging through the room to find the children, but were forced to leave after 10 minutes when the fire at the house became intense.
“The plane was burning slow and then it started really burning,” he told the newspaper. “The fire engines arrived in like 10 minutes. They came real quick and they told us all to move. The house got really out of control.”
Police cordoned off the area, and smoke could be seen rising from between the two houses. Parts of the plane’s wing were visible in the wreckage and a portion of the roof of one of the houses had collapsed, Reuters reported.
Tweed’s airport manager, Lori Hoffman-Soares, said the pilot had been in communication with air traffic control and did not issue any distress calls.
“All we know is that it missed the approach and continued on. There were no distress calls as far as we know,” she said.
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene, according to Reuters.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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