A single-engine plane crashed into a waterfront mobile home park in Clearwater, Fla., on Thursday evening after the pilot reported an engine failure, killing several people, damaging four homes and setting the area on fire, officials said.
The plane slammed directly into one home, causing “several fatalities, both from the aircraft and within the mobile home,” Scott Ehlers, the fire chief of Clearwater, said at a news conference.
The crash left part of the mobile home park, Bayside Waters, engulfed in flames. Three other homes were damaged, though no one inside those was injured, Chief Ehlers said.
The aircraft, which crashed at around 7 p.m., was a Beechcraft Bonanza V35, and the number of people on board was unknown as of early Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
Videos posted online showed an orange blaze and a wall of thick smoke billowing over homes. Frances Yont, who lives across the street from the crash, told 10 Tampa Bay, a CBS affiliate, that she could feel the heat from the fire when she ran out of her home in Clearwater, roughly 20 miles west of Tampa.
“Everything was popping like propane tanks,” she said. “We couldn’t do anything,” she added. “It was horrible.”
The Fire Department received the initial call at 7:08 p.m., and crews “quickly extinguished” the blaze after arriving at the park at about 7:15 p.m., Chief Ehlers said.
At about the same time that his department was called, the chief said, the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, roughly three miles away, had dispatched its own fire response vehicles to an “aircraft having an emergency.”
The pilot had reported a “mayday” over the radio to the airport, he added.
“The aircraft went off radar about three miles north of the runway, which is in this location here,” the chief said at the crash site.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation, the F.A.A. said.