5 killed as plane crashes into 2 Florida homes

A small plane crashes into a neighbourhood and engulfed two houses in flames, killing both people aboard the aircraft and three others on the ground.
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Updated on Jul 11, 2007 10:02 AM IST
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PTI | By, Sanford

A small plane carrying the husband of a NASCAR executive crashed into a neighbourhood and engulfed two houses in flames, killing both people aboard the aircraft and three others on the ground.

The pilot had reported smoke in the cockpit and was trying to make an emergency landing when the twin-engine plane went down in suburban Orlando, officials said yesterday.

NASCAR, confirmed that 54-year-old Dr Bruce Kennedy, a Daytona Beach plastic surgeon and husband of International Speedway Corp President Lesa France Kennedy, and NASCAR Aviation pilot Michael Klemm, 56, were among the dead.

Janice Joseph, 24, and her 6-month-old son, Joseph Woodard, were killed when the home they were in was hit by the plane, police said.

Also killed was a 4-year-old girl, Gabriela Dechat, who was in a second home. Her parents, Milagros Dechat, 33, and Peter Dechat, 36, were seriously injured and transported to Orlando Regional Medical Centre, police said.

A 10-year-old boy also in that home was transported to Cincinnati Burn Centre with burns over 80 per cent to 90 per cent of his body, authorities said. The boy's name has not been released.

Eric Domnitz, who lives just down the street from the crash site, hurried to the scene with a fire extinguisher and said he saw some of the victims.

The twin-engine Cessna 310 had been traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland when the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit shortly before the crash, said Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot was trying to land at the Orlando Sanford International Airport when the plane went down about 1.

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