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Published: Friday, 4/17/2009

Small plane crashes into home near Fort Lauderdale

ASSOCIATED PRESS

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. A small plane crashed into a house shortly after taking off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport Friday morning, slicing the home down the middle into two charred pieces.

The plane, believed to be a twin-engine Cessna 421, crashed around 11:20 a.m., authorities said. It wasn t immediately clear whether anyone was inside the home, which is about two miles from the airport. The house burst into flames when the plane went down, authorities said, but firefighters were able to quickly contain it.

The fire is currently under control, said David Rafter, a spokesman for the city of Oakland Park.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said one person was on board the plane. She did not know if the person survived.

The plane was headed to Fernadina Beach, just outside Jacksonville, where airport officials expected it to land around 1 p.m. But after takeoff, something went wrong. A bystander saw the plane go down and alerted authorities, said another sheriff s spokeswoman, Dani Moschella.

FAA records list the plane s owner as Sebring Air Charter in Tamarac, a Fort Lauderdale suburb. A message left at a phone number listed on Florida corporate records for one of the charter company s officers was not immediately returned.

The crash was at least the third involving the airport, which caters to small planes and jets, in the last five years.

A DC-3 cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff into a residential street near the airport in 2005. The pilot, co-pilot and a passenger all survived. The pilot said at the time they chose the street because it was quiet and wide, and has an abundance of tall palm trees he could run into to slow the plane s speed.

In 2004, a Piper Cherokee crashed into the roof of an auto body shop shortly after takeoff, killing two people on the plane and critically injuring a third.



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