TRURO, N.S. - A small plane that crashed into the backyard of a home in central Nova Scotia on Friday narrowly missed striking a row of homes, the RCMP says.

The two-seater plane, an American Champion Explorer headed to Ontario, came down around 7 a.m., shortly after taking off from a private airstrip in Valley, near Truro.

Police say it was foggy at the time of the crash. Witnesses said they heard the plane's single engine sputtering before it plunged to the ground.

"It came down in what I would call a block of houses in a subdivision," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Jay McInnis. "In the middle of this square is some alders, birch trees and shrubs. ... The plane would have travelled over a row of houses and into the empty wooded area."

McInnis said the plane crashed about 70 metres from the closest homes.

"Things could have been much, much worse had the plane stayed aloft a little further," he said. "Whether that was good luck or good management on the pilot's part, I'm not sure."

When emergency crews arrived at the scene, only a few hundred metres from the airstrip, the pilot and his lone passenger had already walked away from the wreckage.

"It was hung up on some trees on one side," said McInnis. "The one wing had broken away."

The 60-year-old pilot was taken to hospital to be treated for cuts to his head and face. His 51-year-old passenger was also taken to hospital but was later released.

McInnis declined to release their names.

Local fire departments contained some leaking fuel.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada dispatched an investigator to the scene.