A private jet crashed Sunday evening through three homes in a neighborhood near an airport in South Bend, Indiana. Two of the plane's four passengers reportedly died in the crash, according to an FAA spokesman.
South Bend's Assistant Fire Chief John Corthier said several people were injured, though he couldn't comment on their conditions at the time. He did describe the situation as "very dangerous" because of the jet's fuel.
"It's still a rescue operation," Corthier said about three hours after the crash. Referring to one of the damaged houses, he said, "Because of the collapse in the house it's a very dangerous situation. We have to shore up the house before we can enter the house."
Neighbors near the crash site described a harrowing scene:
Stan Klaybor, who lives across the street from the crash scene, said the jet clipped the top of one house, heavily damaged a second, and finally came to rest against a third. Neighbors did not know if a woman living in the most heavily damaged house was home at the time, and a young boy in the third house did not appear to be seriously injured, Klaybor said.
"Her little boy was in the kitchen and he got nicked here," Klaybor said, pointing to his forehead.
His wife, Mary Jane, regularly watches planes approach the airport.
"I was looking out my picture window. The plane's coming, and I go, `Wait a minute,' and then, boom," she said.
"This one was coming straight at my house. I went, `Huh?' and then there was a big crash, and all the insulation went flying," she said.
The plane was registered to 7700 Enterprises of Montana LLC. When the AP called the home of Wes Caves, the company's owner, Caves's wife answered. "I think he's dead," she told the reporter, before hanging up.
Officials evacuated part of the neighborhood, which is located southwest of a nearby airport. Buses transported 200 residents to a nearby shelter.
According to Mike Daigle, the executive director at the St Joseph County Airport Authority, the plane had attempted to land after reporting a mechanical issue, then went back up to try another approach. Eight minutes later, Daigle said, the airport received word the plane had crashed.