Small plane crashes in US neighbourhood, killing all three people on board

Upper Moreland police chief Michael Murphy speaks to the media about the crash.
Upper Moreland police chief Michael Murphy speaks to the media about the crash.PHOTO: AP
Debris from the crash sits in backyards of a residential neighbourhood.
Debris from the crash sits in backyards of a residential neighbourhood.PHOTO: AP

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (TCA/DPA) - A small plane crashed on Thursday morning (Aug 8) into the backyards of homes in a township in eastern Pennsylvania, killing all three people on board.

The crash occurred about 6.20am (8.20pm Singapore time), creating what officials called a large debris field in in Upper Moreland Township.

Police chief Michael Murphy said everyone on the plane was killed in the crash.

Officials said later there were three people on board - a man and two women - but only two of them had been identified.

Murphy said the man had a pilot's licence but it was not known if he had been at the controls.

Noting that the plane came down in the rear yards of a residential neighbourhood, Murphy said it was "a miracle" that no one on the ground was hurt.

He said the plane crashed into a yard, hitting trees and a shed, but not harming anyone in nearby homes.

According to FlightTracker, the single-engine plane was on a flight from Northeast Philadelphia Airport to Ohio State University.

Murphy said the plane was going to another destination after Ohio, but did not provide further details.

The 44-year-old Beech aircraft is registered to Jasvir Khurana, of Penn Valley.

Federal Aviation Administration officials arrived at the scene around 10am, and a team from the National Transportation Safety Board, the lead agency in the investigation, was expected to get to the scene later on Thursday.

Murphy anticipated that investigators would be stationed in the neighbourhood for "several days."

He said local police officers were going door-to-door on Thursday to see if any private surveillance systems had recorded footage of the crash.

The plane left a trail of broken parts and battered trees in its wake stretching several hundred yards. It came to rest in a wooded area behind the homes, clipping and damaging the roof of a nearby shed.

According to activity logs on FlightAware, the aircraft took off from the Northeast Philadelphia airport 10 times in the last three months, including Thursday morning.

The aircraft model, a Beech F33A, has been involved seven fatal accidents in the last 10 years in the United States, according to NTSB records.