Three people were killed Friday afternoon when a small plane crashed into a house while on approach to the Flagler County Airport and caught on fire, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said the plane struck a house on Utica Path at 2:20 p.m., about a mile east of the airport and just west of Interstate 95.
FHP said the flight originated in Fort Pierce and was headed to Knoxville, Tenn., when the pilot said the plane began severely shaking and declared an emergency about 2:10 p.m. The Federal Aviation Administration reported the mechanical problem had the 1957 Beech Bonanza H35 divert to the Flagler County Airport.
"I witnessed the entire thing happen. It was gut wrenching," said one post on FlaglerLive.com. "One minute you saw the plane ready to land, the next minute 'poof' it was gone and all you saw was a huge cloud of black smoke. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved."
A photo from the scene courtesy of FlaglerLive.com showed the house on fire.
FlaglerLive.com identified the homeowner as Susan Crockett, who escaped serious injury and was helped out of the burning house by neighbors and first responders. The plane hit the kitchen and living room.
Crockett appeared visibly shaken and was wrapped in a blanket as she told family and friends on the phone, “I’m OK, I’m OK,” FlaglerLive.com reported.
FHP said the plane was in Daytona Beach's airspace when the pilot contacted an air traffic controller via radio.
"The engines were shaking. They reported that they saw smoke, then some commotion ensued. I don't know what that entails or what that exactly means," FHP Lt. Justin Asbury said. "That was the last transmissions. Apparently the air traffic controller had seen that they had entered a bad weather area, and that was just after the transmissions."
FHP said it appears the plane made a steep decent prior to crashing through the roof of the home. Fire consumed most of the plane and much of the house.
The FAA reported there were only three people on board the single-engine general aviation aircraft that seats four people.
The FHP confirmed three fatalities, but said they were searched other victims. The Flagler County Sheriff's Office initially reported five people were on the plane.
The names and hometowns of those killed was not released Friday night.
Family and neighbors speak about plane crash
Jessica Crockett said it's nothing short of a miracle that her 50-year-old mother, Susan, survived the crash. Her mother was the only one home at the time, and Crockett said she was in her bedroom when the plane carrying three crashed into her home.
"It's nothing but God," said Crockett. "The fact that my mom survived, the fact that she was able to get out."
Crockett said her mother immediately climbed out of her bedroom window and ran across the street to safety.
Paramedics took her to the hospital, but only as a precaution. Crockett said her mother is going to be just fine.
While Susan did survive the crash, investigators said all three people on board had died.