A small Beechcraft BE36 aircraft crashed yesterday into a house in Plainfield, Mass., killing its pilot and two passengers but sparing the family of four inside the house, the Boston Globe reports. FAA officials say the plane had taken off from Pennsylvania's Lancaster Airport and was headed toward Massachusetts' Norwood Memorial Airport, about 20 miles from the crash site. "It went right up in flames," Mary O'Rourke, a neighbor who was sitting on her porch when the plane hit about 5:45pm, tells NBC News. "There was black smoke and ashes everywhere." Nearly 10 fire companies responded to the three-alarm call and had the fire extinguished by 8pm, the Globe notes; federal officials say a child was on board the plane.
The pilot had called in engine problems about five minutes before the plane went down and indicated he was "unable to maintain altitude" or make it to a Rhode Island airport seven miles away, reports WCVB. "We've got a real bad vibration. We're losing engines," he radioed flight controllers, per the station. O'Rourke tells NBC she saw the home's occupants—two adults, a high school freshman, and a fourth-grader—run out of the home after the crash, apparently uninjured. The Massachusetts fire marshal tells NECN, "While we suffered great tragedy here … the miracle today is that four occupants of that home … were able to safely escape." Meanwhile, WCVB notes the next-door neighbor to the crash is Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. (A plane crash last year into a Maryland home also had tragic consequences.)