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Pilot dies after plane smashes into unoccupied house in Ohio

Pilot dies after plane smashes into unoccupied house in Ohio


MADEIRA, Ohio (CIRCA via WKRC) - People in a Madeira neighborhood are talking about how lucky they are more people weren't hurt or killed when a plane crashed into a home there.

The investigation into exactly what happened is well underway. There's an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness that more people weren't hurt and sadness for the family of the pilot who died when his plane plummeted into the home.

The plane hit a huge sycamore tree, sending a large branch into the roof where it pierced through about six feet into a bedroom. The plane then spun around and hit the home, doing extensive damage. No one was home at the time except two dogs, who were uninjured.

The Federal Aviation Administration investigators spent the day gathering evidence. They are looking for any violations that may have occurred. The NTSB investigator will try to determine what happened to make this plane fall from the sky. That investigator will be in town Thursday and will hold a news conference at 3 p.m.

Circa partner WKRC's investigation shows that the plane was a Piper PA-31 350 Navajo. It was built in 1980 and its certificate was up-to-date. The pilot was 62, very experienced, and was geomapping and taking photographs for a Mississippi company that specializes in that type of work.

Witness statements will likely be a big part of the investigation. Cliff Thornsburg saw the plane go down.

"I heard an engine rev. So I turned around and dropped my rake. I watched the plane come over those trees, got just about where you can see those pines -- that was my view right over their house -- and then it took just a perpendicular dive into the rear of their yard with a pretty good thud. Everyone heard it," said Thornsburg.

"What I heard was about three seconds of an engine failing,” says Jenny Brock. “Then a loud bang. Then a couple of minutes later, popping."

Video from Brock's surveillance camera shows her running outside right after she heard the crash. Then on the front yard cam, you can see her running up the driveway to see if she could help.

The crash happened at about 3:20 Tuesday afternoon. Children were pouring into the neighborhood as they were just getting home from school.

Members of the family who live in that home are staying with friends until investigators are done gathering the information they need -- that should be a couple of more days.

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