The three pilots had just taken off from Mississippi's Hawkins Field Airport when the single-engine plane they were flying to an FAA safety conference less than 30 miles away began to falter. A Jackson police officer looked up in the sky and saw the Piper PA-32 "spitting and sputtering" like it was out of fuel, he would later tell the plane's owner, a budding pilot whose own life was spared when he decided to go deer hunting instead of flying yesterday afternoon.
One of the aviators asked for permission to return to the airport, but just minutes later the plane went down. It crashed through trees before slamming into a house that quickly caught fire, sending long flames and black smoke through the neighborhood of modest single-family homes. A deputy fire chief said that one person escaped the burning home with minor injuries, but it was not immediately clear if anyone else was inside. The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating. (Read more Mississippi stories.)