Small plane crashes into Florida mobile home park

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A small plane crashed into a Clearwater, Florida, mobile home park Thursday evening, setting homes on fire, officials said.

There is likely to be at least one death, the fire chief said. Additional details about the number of people injured or how many people were in the plane were not immediately clear.

The single-engine plane struck a trailer about 7 p.m., and fire officials were trying to determine whether anyone was inside that home, Clearwater Fire Chief Scott Ehlers said.

“The other mobile homes that were affected because of the fire, they did have residents in them, they were able to get out, and we accounted for everybody there,” Ehlers said. Four homes in all caught on fire, including the one directly struck.

The pilot of the Beechcraft Bonanza V35 had reported an engine failure before the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Helicopter video from NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa showed a field of debris, including what appeared to be all or part of a home, and firefighters using flashlights at the scene as smoke rose. Firefighters were putting water on one structure with a firehose.

plane accident
People watch as flames rise near the scene of a plane crash in Clearwater, Fla., on Thursday.@stevenascari

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, the FAA said.

The pilot had reported mayday at a nearby airport and then the aircraft went off the radar around 3 miles north of the runway, which is where the mobile home park is, Ehlers said.

Ehlers said he expected more injuries and more damage with a plane crash in a compact residential area.

“We were very fortunate,” he told reporters at the scene.

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