Deaths reported after small plane crashes into Florida mobile home park

Several people are dead after a small plane crashed into a Clearwater, Florida, mobile home park Thursday evening, setting homes on fire, officials said.

The number of deaths was not clear Thursday night as firefighters worked on hot spots and to get to the victims. The crash happened around 7 p.m.

The plane was mostly in one home, Clearwater Fire Chief Scott Ehlers said.

small plane crash fire flame (Courtesy Rick Renner)

small plane crash fire flame (Courtesy Rick Renner)

“I can confirm that we have several fatalities, both from the aircraft and within the mobile home,” Ehlers said. Police Chief Eric Gandy said that they know there are deaths visually from the scene.

At least three homes had fire damage, Ehlers said. Aside from the home that was directly struck, the people in the other homes were able to get out, he said.

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.

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

plane accident (@stevenascari)

plane accident (@stevenascari)

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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