The pilot of a small plane was killed Sunday in Long Island, and two passengers seriously injured, after the plane caught fire in mid-air and plummeted to the ground.
The four-seat Cessna plane hit a tree on its way down, and then crashed into a Dumpster in an abandoned lot in Brookhaven, Long Island.
The pilot, a man, died. His two passengers aboard, a husband and wife, endured serious burns, but survived. The husband and wife were able to either crawl or be pulled out of the fiery plane once it crash landed, but the pilot's body remained trapped inside.
“We suddenly heard sputtering. We looked up in the sky and there was a huge fireball,” neighborhood resident Wayne Wachter told the New York Post. “You could hear it first hit the tree and then just crash right into the ground.”
The plane had just taken off from nearby Brookhaven Airport.
It appeared that the pilot deliberately tried to avoid homes, and land in an empty lot as he brought the doomed Cessna down, according to the Post.
Terrified neighbors rushed outside with garden hoses to put out the flames, Brookhaven town supervisor Mark Lesko told the Post.