NEW YORK -- A small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood on suburban Long Island, east of New York City, killing two of the three people on board as it smashed through trees onto the street and burst into flames.
The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the cause of Sunday's crash in Shirley, where residents used garden hoses to try to douse the burning aircraft and tried to calm two dazed people who staggered out of the plane after it hit the ground. One of them later died. The pilot also was killed. The lone survivor was in critical condition in an area hospital.
The neighborhood where the plane went down is about a mile from Brookhaven Calabro Airport in Suffolk County. Area residents began calling 911 to report that a plane had gone down in their neighborhood a few minutes before noon, minutes after the single-engine plane had taken off.
Witnesses described a horrifying scene suddenly erupting in the midst of a quiet afternoon.
Patrick McGroary told the Long Island newspaper Newsday that he was in his yard doing his usual Sunday lawn work when he heard a loud crash. "The plane hit the trees. We heard the snap of the wood. We heard the impact with the road," he said.
"I heard the thump from my house," said Lynn Beharman, who saw the plane hit her friend's roof before it crashed. "We ran outside...we grabbed the hose and were trying to hose down the airplane engine," said another neighbor, Jacqueline Resto.
One woman used scissors to cut burning clothing off of the survivor who later died.
Nobody on the ground was injured, and the plane did not hit any homes. Early Monday, the wreckage remained in place, surrounded by broken trees and yellow police tape.
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