Four skydivers and a pilot managed to survive a fiery plane crash into a house in Arizona. The crash occurred on Saturday (17 September) in Gilbert, near Phoenix and two people who were in the house at the time watching TV, were able to get out uninjured.
Debris was strewn across the road and the back garden when the Cessna 182 aircraft's wing caught fire for, as yet, unknown reasons. The group was supposed to skydive into a Constitution Week celebration at the Gilbert Civic Centre.
AZCentral.com reported that Gilbert fire captain Gary Hildebrandt said the pilot was also a skydiver who landed in a field about half a mile from the crash site. And witnesses told the USA Today-affiliated news website that they saw the plane catch fire in the sky.
"My husband and I were on our swing outside watching this plane go around, and all of a sudden, we heard this big bang and we saw the plane catch on fire," Jeri Kimbro said. "It was on fire pretty bad. There were pieces of it on fire everywhere. We watched it go down. It was really sad. We're praying for their families."
While Mason Paulette, another witness, said: "I saw a ball of flame straight down," he said. "It's not something you want to see." The pilot has been treated for burns.
Authorities said that all four of the skydivers all had parachutes on at the time of the crash. Brent Bowen, dean of the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, told the website: "We don't teach a lot about abandoning an aircraft because it's not something we really do."
No other homes on the street were affected by the crash and it was revealed by police that the pilot had radioed in that the plane's wing was on fire. Federal Aviation Spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the FAA along with the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.