The FAA says the pilot of a Beech 58P aircraft is dead following a plane crash in an East Lake neighborhood. The FAA will move plane tomorrow. The NTSB will be on the scene at 10 A.M. According to the FAA web site, the plane is registered to Sutters Mill Gold and Jewelry and Pee Wee's Pawn in Pelham. The single-engine plane crashed very close to homes which some had feared would happen for years. We're told the plane was en route from New Jersey to Shelby County but was weather diverted to the Birmingham airport.
Witnesses say this plane caught fire before it hit the ground. Kairee King was standing on his front porch.
"All I know is my friend right here told me to look up, and it was a plane in the sky, fire coming out of the back of it."
People say it spiraled to its doom, crashing about 50 feet from the nearest house.
"The plane just dropped out the air," says Eric Wilson.
"It was like a little vibration," says Tracey Hood. "It had me kind of shook because I can't believe that it happened over here."
They called 911 immediately, worried about the pilot who the FAA confirmed has died.
"I don't think he could have made it through that," says Jeremy Lewis. "Unless he had a parachute or something, there's no way he got out of that crash at all."
Birmingham Fire and Police were first on the scene.
"We're still gathering that information with the Airport Authority and we're waiting on the FAA to respond to the scene." Sgt. Johnny Williams told reporters, adding that he did not know if there were any distress calls.
The only fortunate thing about the crash, perhaps, is that it did not hit one of the nearby homes. Neighbors say the crash site is actually airport property.
"I was always kind of scared that something like this may happen being so close to the airport, and I'm shocked that it didn't hit no one's home. So it got me scared to even go to sleep at night.," King says.
The plot has not been identified. The investigation of course continues tomorrow.