A small plane that crashed in a working-class neighbourhood near a Connecticut airport yesterday and engulfed two houses in flames may have killed six people.
The multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck the small homes close to Tweed New Haven Airport as it went in for a landing.
National Transportation Safety Board investigator Robert Gretz said last night there were casualty reports of two or three people in the plane and two or three on the ground.
He said local and state authorities were at the scene looking for victims.
Soon after the crash, officials had said at least three people were missing: the pilot and two children, ages one and 13, in one of the houses. State Governor Dannel Malloy later said the plane also may have been carrying two passengers but officials were still trying to verify whether that was true.
East Haven fire Chief Douglas Jackson said yesterday afternoon: "We haven't recovered anybody at this point, and we presume there is going to be a very bad outcome."
Less than two hours later, Mr Malloy said rescuers had spotted two bodies, including one of an adult, but had not recovered them. The plane's fuselage had entered one of the houses, and the recovery effort was focusing on the home's basement, he said.
Mayor Joseph Maturo said later that the houses were still unstable and crews had not completed a full search.
The plane, a Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B, flew out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and crashed at 11.25am local time, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Tweed's airport manager, Lori Hoffman-Soares, said the pilot had been in communication with air traffic control and had not issued any distress calls.
"All we know is that it missed the approach and continued on," she said.
A neighbour, David Esposito, said he heard a loud noise and then a thump: "No engine noise, nothing."
He added: "A woman was screaming her kids were in there."
Mr Esposito, a retired teacher, said he ran into the upstairs of the house, where the woman believed her children were, but could not find them after frantically searching. He returned downstairs to search some more, but he dragged the woman out when the flames became too strong.