Authorities confirmed that three people died Saturday after the small plane they were flying in crashed into a residential home in Michigan, setting the house ablaze as its five occupants rushed to safety.
The plane careened into a home in Lyon Township, Mich. around 4 p.m. Saturday, Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard said in a statement. The three fatalities were believed to be the pilot and the two occupants of the plane.
The residence was “fully engulfed in flames,” but five family members home at the time made it out injured, the sheriff’s office said. However, the family’s pet cat perished in the fire, WDIV-TV reported.
“It was kinda buzzing low,” neighbor Chase Southwick told Fox 17 West Michigan, describing what happened before the plane seemed to fall out of the sky. “It was kind of circling a bit then we heard this explosion.
“There was a huge cloud of smoke, like really tall flames,” Southwick continued, detailing how the house struck by the plane caught fire. “We thought the whole house was going to be gone.”
The victims have been identified as David Compo, president of the Home Builders Association of Southeast Michigan, his wife Michelle, and their son Dawson, Michael Stoskopf, the organization’s CEO, said in a statement to The Oakland Press newspaper. The family had flown to Canton, Ga. on Dec. 29 and was returning home Sunday when their plane crashed, Stoskopf said.
Lyon Township deputies and fire department responded to the scene. The home is located not far from the Oakland/Southwest Airport, formerly known as the New Hudson Airport, according to WDIV-TV.
“It’s always been my biggest fear,” another neighbor, Eric Mullen, told Fox 17. “With the airport being there I knew one of these days one of those planes would have to go down for whatever reason.”
The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Association and the National Transportation Safety Board.
“A single-engine Piper PA-24 crashed in a residential area in New Hudson, Mich., about 4 p.m. local time today. Contact local authorities for information on the condition and identity of the pilot and any passengers. There is no report of injuries on the ground,” FAA said in a preliminary statement, according to WDIV. “The FAA will release the aircraft tail number when it is verified at the accident scene. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents.”
A GoFundMe page was set up to benefit the Mudzwova Family, whose home was destroyed by the crash.