Several dead after small plane crashes into mobile home park in Florida

A single-engine plane crashed into a waterfront mobile home park in Clearwater, Fla., Thursday evening after the pilot reported engine failure, killing several people, damaging four homes and setting the area on fire, authorities said.

Clearwater Fire Chief Scott Ehlers said at a news conference that the plane hit a house directly, causing “multiple casualties from the plane and inside the mobile home.”

The accident caused the mobile home park, Bayside Waters area to catch fire. Three other homes were damaged, but no one was injured, Chief Ehlers said.

The plane, which crashed around 7 p.m., was a Beechcraft Bonanza V35, and the number of people on board was unknown early Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

Videos posted online showed orange flames and a wall of thick smoke billowing over houses.

The fire department received the initial call at 7:08 p.m., and crews “quickly extinguished” the fire after arriving at the park around 7:15 p.m., Chief Ehlers said.

The chief said St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, about three miles away, sent its own fire engines to the “emergency aircraft.”

The pilot radioed “mayday” to the airport, he added.

“The plane went off the radar about three miles north of the runway, and it's right here at this point,” the chief said at the crash site.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation, the FAA said.

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