Clearwater, Florida plane crash: Several killed in fiery small-plane crash at mobile home park, officials say

Clearwater, Florida plane crash: Several killed in fiery small-plane crash at mobile home park, officials say

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CNN
 — 

A preliminary FAA report published Friday morning shows three people were killed Thursday evening in a fiery crash when a small plane smashed into a mobile home park in Clearwater, Florida.

The Federal Aviation Administration report’s list of three fatalities indicates one among the flight crew and two people on the ground. The crash occurred at 7:27 p.m. on Thursday.

The FAA notes the “aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances into a mobile home park,” and reports there was a “post crash fire.”

There were no other occupants on the plane besides the pilot, according to the FAA.

Firefighters responded to the crash site at the Bayside Waters mobile home park, city Fire Chief Scott Ehlers said Thursday during a news briefing. They found four trailer homes on fire – one of which had the crashed plane inside, Ehlers said.

The plane was found “predominately” in one mobile home, the fire chief said Thursday. Crews were still trying to tame hotspots and reach the bodies of those who died, Ehlers added.

Clearwater resident Steven Ascari told CNN he heard what sounded like an explosion Thursday evening that shook his apartment.

“And next thing you know a giant pillar of smoke was seen,” he said in a message.

As officials received a call about a fire at the mobile home park, there was a report at the same time of a plane experiencing an emergency at an airport, Ehlers said Thursday. The plane ultimately went off radar about 3 miles north of a runway, the same location as the mobile home park.

The aircraft, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza V35, crashed into the residential area after the pilot reported an engine failure, an FAA spokesperson told CNN.

Christopher Crerar

Smoke rises from a fire after a plane crash in Clearwater, Florida, on Thursday.

Audio from LiveATC.net recorded the pilot saying shortly before the crash, “I’m losing engine.”

Unidentified pilots on air traffic control communication feeds are then heard saying, “They just hit the ground really hard with the plane,” and “They’re in flames.” Another is heard to say, “It looks like they went into a house.”

The National Transportation Safety Board said an investigator who arrived Friday morning will document the scene and examine the aircraft before it is taken to “a secure facility for further evaluation.”

“During the on-scene phase of the investigative process, the NTSB does not determine or speculate about the cause of the accident,” the agency said in a release.

The other mobile homes that were ablaze have been cleared, and there were no victims there, the fire chief said Thursday night.

Clearwater, home to more than 110,000 people, is about 23 miles west of Tampa on Florida’s central west coast.

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