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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Private Plane Crashes Into Residential Homes in London

(A private aircraft carrying five people crashed in a residential cul-de-sac in Farnborough, Kent, on Sunday afternoon. Pic: Fernand Kwasi-Frimpong Jnr)

A private plane crashed into the residential area of Farnborough in Kent, southeast of London, injuring people on the ground and the five occupants on the plane are unaccounted for, according to authorities.
A Cessna Citation airplane contacted air traffic control in Biggin Hill and reported difficulty right after taking off for France and requested to return for landing but when attempting to return the plane then hit a two story building in Farnborough.

Police say the accident happened at 2:37 pm and It took approximately three hours before firefighters and emergency services could even approach the wreckage, due to safety concerns.

Ian Todd, assistant director of operations for London Ambulance Services, said, "There is aviation fuel involved, and also gas canisters have been located at the scene of the incident which are currently being cooled to make it safe to approach."

As of now there are no fatalities reported from those injured on the ground, but the two pilots and three passengers on the plane have not been located.

Six fire engines and a search and rescue team were dispatched and witness say they heard an explosion before the crash.

One of those witnesses was John Crane, a local resident, told Sky News, "When I got there there was just a massive red fireball and two or three explosions."

Crane's wife said the plane had been flying erratically before it went down.

Neighbors rushed into their backyards to see fire and billowing smoke from the house that had been hit in their immediate neighborhood. Some took photos of the scene right after the crash.

(Neighbours came rushing out after hearing what one called an "absolutely almighty noise".--Photo Ben McIntyre)

The Telegraph has reports from other eye witnesses. One of which is Jason Murrell, a 39 year old father of four who said, "I looked into the eyes of the pilot and a female passenger just seconds before it crashed because the plane was heading straight for my house in Hale Close. I saw it coming straight at us. My girls were outside so I ran out and grabbed them. I took them inside the house with me and hoped for the best. I thought it was going to hit our house and kill us but looking up I could see the terror in the plane passengers' eyes as they whizzed past us."

Others describe explosion noises and their fear as the plane crashed into their neighborhood.

Although search and rescue were sent to the scene the five occupants of the plane are believed to be dead.