2 Killed as Plane Crashes in Long Island Neighborhood

Craft narrowly missed homes, playing children
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2012 1:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – Two people are dead and one injured after a single-engine plane crashed into the quiet Long Island neighborhood of Shirley yesterday, reports the New York Daily News. The plane had just taken off from a regional airport a mile away when it crashed, snapping an oak tree in half, crashing into a dumpster, and bursting into flames. The pilot died in the fire. The two passengers survived the blaze, thanks to neighbors who rolled them in wet blankets, but one died later in the hospital.

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"It was so close I felt like I could touch it,” said one woman of the engine's roar. “I grabbed my kids out of the car and just started running. That’s when I saw two people rolling on the ground in flames.” No houses were hit in the crash, and witnesses said it appeared that the pilot had tried to avoid them. But the gruesome scene haunted many who tried to save the passengers and pilot. "I saw him take his last breath," said Chris Melendez, a neighbor who grabbed a garden hose and tried to save the pilot. "I wish there was more I could do for him. I feel so bad for him. I can’t get him out of my mind." (Read more Long Island stories.)

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