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9 dead as plane crashes into building

11 November 2015, 13:10

Akron — A small business jet whose owner said it was carrying nine people crashed into an apartment building with a huge bang on Tuesday, shaking furniture in homes several blocks away. Authorities hadn't confirmed how many people were aboard but said there were at least two deaths and they didn't expect any survivors.

Investigators were trying to determine how many people were on the 10-seat Hawker H25 jet, but confirmed two deaths early on, said Lt. Sierjie Lash, an Akron fire department spokeswoman. No one was inside the small brick apartment building or another home that caught fire, she said.

Plane owner Augusto Lewkowicz said two pilots and seven passengers were on the flight. He said he had talked to investigators and was trying to contact families of the victims.

The jet, which took off from Dayton, had planned to land at Akron Fulton International Airport, about 3.2 kilometers from where it crashed. It clipped a utility wire on the way down and burst into flames and disintegrated after impact, Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Haymaker said.

The plane then hit an embankment beyond the apartment building, causing a nearby house to also burn, he said. There were no known injuries on the ground, he said.

Witnesses reported hearing explosions when the plane hit.

"I heard a big bang, and my couch shook twice," said Carrie Willis, who lives several blocks away.

The front of the two-story apartment building was destroyed.

A woman who lives about a block away and was driving home with her grandson at the time said she saw the plane crash into the building and burst into flames.

"This plane just dropped out of the sky, veered and crashed into the apartment building," Roberta Porter said.

She said it's scary to think that if she had been driving faster the plane may have clipped her car.

Another witness, Jesse Moon, told WEWS-TV that he was six blocks away when the plane went down and he ran over to the area.

"Everything was gone," he said. "It looked like a bomb exploded."

A mass-fatality team planned to begin working at daylight Wednesday to sift through the wreckage and recover bodies of the victims.

Inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were due at the scene of the crash, whose cause was unknown.

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- AP


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