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Small plane goes down in Florida neighborhood

OAKLAND PARK - A small plane crashed into a house shortly after taking off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport late this morning.

The Cessna 421 twin-engine prop plane took off from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport around 11:15 a.m. and went down near Andrews Avenue, just north of Commercial Boulevard, said airport spokesman Chaz Adams. Four people were believed to be on board, including the pilot, he said.

"Shortly after it got in the air, it did report trouble to the tower," Adams said. "The tower cleared it to come back and land. In trying to make it back, that's when it went down."

The exact location was 5240 Northwest First Avenue. Adams said the house was vacant, Adams said.

"I don't see any possibility of a survivor," said Matt Little, a spokesman for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, which was offering mutual aid to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue trucks at the scene.

Adams said he was looking into a report that the plane was headed to Fernandina Beach, near Jacksonville. The plane is owned by Sebring Air Charter, with offices in Tamarac.

The crash caused a fire that is under control, said Oakland Park city spokesman David Rafter.

Eddie Mujica, who works at Allied Advertising north of the crash site, said he and coworkers watched it happen.

"We saw the plane turn sideways, and then it just nosedived," he said. Then came the smoke. "It's not something you see every day," he said.

Mujica, a Twitter user (emujica), quickly took a picture of the rising smoke and sent a picture to his followers.

Another witness, Maria Alfaro, told NBC-6: "I saw the plane so close to the roof. It tried to turn and it went down."

Andrews Avenue is closed north of Commercial Boulevard, and traffic is backed up along Commercial Boulevard as well. Dozens of rescue vehicles, including Fort Lauderdale and Broward Sheriff's Fire Rescue are on the scene, as well as Fort Lauderdale police.

Scores of people are outside their homes watching the drama unfold.

Residents said they didn't hear the crash, but first realized what happened when they saw the smoke.

"They need to stop flying here," Kerrie Interlandi, a neighborhood resident echoing the concern of many who complained that plane crashes in the area occur too often.

The Broward Sheriff's Office traffic homicide investigators are at the scene.

The plane cut power lines before it hit the house, officials said, and FPL spokeswoman Sharon Bennett said power was shut down to 1,644 customers in the neighborhood after the crash.

Emergency officials requested the action for safety reasons, Bennett said.


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