NATIONAL NEWS

Several killed in fiery small-plane crash at mobile home park in Clearwater, Florida, officials say

Feb 2, 2024, 6:41 AM

CLEARWATER, Fla. (CNN) — Several people were killed Thursday evening in a fiery crash of a small plane into a mobile home park in Clearwater, Florida, authorities said.

Firefighters responded around 7:15 p.m. local time to the crash site at the Bayside Waters mobile home park, city Fire Chief Scott Ehlers said Thursday during a news briefing. They found four trailer homes on fire – one of which had the crashed plane inside, Ehlers said.

“I can confirm that we have several fatalities both from the aircraft and within the mobile home,” Ehlers later announced, without providing a precise number of how many people died.

It remained unclear Thursday night how many people were on the plane.

The plane was found “predominately’ in one mobile home, the fire chief said Thursday. Crews were still trying to tame hotspots and reach the bodies of those who died, Ehlers added.

Clearwater resident Steven Ascari told CNN he heard what sounded like an explosion Thursday evening that shook his entire apartment.

“And next thing you know a giant pillar of smoke was seen,” he said in a message.

As officials received a call about a fire at the mobile home park, there was a report at the same time of a plane experiencing an emergency at an airport, Ehlers said Thursday. The plane ultimately went off radar about 3 miles north of a runway, the same location as the mobile home park.

The aircraft, a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza V35, crashed into the residential area after the pilot reported an engine failure, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson told CNN.

The other mobile homes that were ablaze have been cleared, and there were no victims there, the fire chief said Thursday night.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Clearwater police also responded to the mobile home park and will work to secure and preserve the scene, Chief Eric Gandy said during the news briefing, adding the incident is considered a serious traffic homicide crash.

“We’ll be working through that scene as the night progresses to further clarify what we have and secure that scene for NTSB and FAA’s arrival later in the evening,” the police chief said.

Clearwater, home to more than 110,000 residents, is about 23 miles west of Tampa on Florida’s central west coast.

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Several killed in fiery small-plane crash at mobile home park in Clearwater, Florida, officials say