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Pics: Plane crashes into houses, four found dead

The propeller-driven plane struck two small homes near Tweed New Haven Airport in Connecticut, USA. The victims have not yet been identified.

Updated 7.10pm

A SMALL PLANE crashed into a residential neighbourhood near an airport while trying to land, setting fire to two houses and killing four people, authorities said.

Just before noon yesterday, the multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck two small homes near Tweed New Haven Airport, Connecticut, USA. The aircraft’s left wing lodged in one house and its right wing in the other.

A responder surveys the scene. Pic: AP Photo/Fred Beckham

Four bodies have been recovered from the site of the plane crash, a fire official said. Those presumed dead are the pilot, a former Microsoft executive, his teenage son and two children in a home struck by the plane.

The bodies — two from the plane and two from one of the two houses it struck — were pulled from the site shortly before midnight on Friday, said Anthony Moscato, deputy chief of the East Haven Fire Department. He said they are believed to be the only victims.

Authorities previously said as many as six people could have been killed. The victims were not immediately identified. Their remains were sent to the Connecticut medical examiner’s office as the National Transportation Safety Board continued its investigation of the crash.

Two children, ages 1 and 13, have been missing since the plane crashed into their home.

A firefighter surveys the scene. Pic: AP Photo/Fred Beckham

A family member said the pilot was former Microsoft executive Bill Henningsgaard, who was taking his son, Maxwell, on an East Coast tour of colleges.

The family learned it was Bill Henningsgaard's plane through the tail number, said his brother, Blair Henninsgaard, the city attorney in Astoria, Ore.

It wasn't his first crash. Four years ago, Bill Henningsgaard crash-landed his plane on Washington's Columbia River, and he and his 84-year-old mother were rescued by a passing boat as the plane began to sink.

The 10-seater plane, a Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B, flew out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and crashed at 11.25am, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, right, speaks with the media as East Haven fire Chief Douglas Jackson listens, left, at the scene.  Pic: AP Photo/Fred Beckham

Tweed's airport manager, Lori Hoffman-Soares, said the pilot had been in communication with air traffic control and hadn't issued any distress calls.

"All we know is that it missed the approach and continued on," she said.

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A neighbour, David Esposito, said he heard a loud noise and then a thump: "No engine noise, nothing."

A woman was screaming her kids were in there.

Esposito, a retired teacher, said he ran into the upstairs of the house, where the woman believed her children were, but couldn't find them after frantically searching a crib and closets. He returned downstairs to search some more, but he dragged the woman out when the flames became too strong.

Firefighters stand at the scene. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

Wilson Idrovo said he was working on a house nearby when his son said: "Daddy, the airplane is falling down." Idrovo said he went into the house but couldn't get into a room where the plane had crashed.

Maturo, the mayor, said a priest was with the woman whose children were feared dead, and he offered sympathy to the family.

Neighbours said the woman moved into the neighbourhood recently. A vigil is planned for tonight at Margaret Tucker Park.

First published 12pm

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