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Three killed when plane crashes into Florida house

Stringer / REUTERS

Investigators and firefighters work at the scene of a plane crash in Palm Coast, Fla., on Friday. Three people on the plane were killed and the homeowner escaped without major injuries, authorities said.

At least three people were killed when a small plane crashed into a house Friday afternoon while trying to land at a central Florida airport, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The 1957 Beechcraft H35 Bonanza was heading from Fort Pierce to Knoxville, Tenn., when it began experiencing mechanical problems, FHP Lt. Justin Asbury said.

Deputies said initial reports said the pilot declared an emergency at about 2:10 p.m. after reporting the plane was severely shaking, NBC station WESH of Orlando reported.

Flagler County Airport Director Roy Sieger told the Dayton Beach News-Journal that according to flight controllers the pilot of the plane reported smoke in the cockpit at 2:18 p.m. and the crash occurred at 2:19. 

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office said the plane hit a Palm Coast home just east of the Flagler County Airport.

Robert Ferrigno, who lives down the street, said he heard the crash from his home.

"Planes go over here all the time, but this afternoon, I heard, 'putt, putt, putt,' and then I heard, 'boom,'" Ferrigno said. "I looked outside, and there were flames shooting up over the trees."

Ferrigno and another neighbor, Armando Gonzalez, ran down the street to the crash site.

The home's owner — identified by FHP as Susan Crockett — was already outside when they arrived, screaming that a plane had crashed into her house.

"The house was in flames, and there were explosions — boom, boom, boom — inside the house," Gonzalez said. He said the tail appeared to be sticking out the roof of the single-story ranch home.

Ferrigno added that the crash had thrown insulation everywhere, saying, "It looked like it was snowing."

Crockett was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution, Asbury said. She was listed in stable condition.

Authorities didn't immediately identify the people on the plane.

NBC News staff contributed to this report from The Associated Press. 

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