Boy Just Missed Plane's Nosedive Into His House

An impromptu trip to auntie's house saves a teenager's life

A boy left his home just ten minutes before a small plane crashed into his house and split it in two, the home owner said Friday.

Authorities are still sorting through the charred remains of Nolasco's home trying to find clues as to what might have made the plane nosedive shortly after take off.

Patrick Faustin, who lives two blocks from the crash site, told the Miami Herald he saw "a plane coming east with the wing on fire."

The twin engine plane had just taken off from nearby Executive Airport around 11:15 a.m. when it fell out of the sky and plunged into a home, setting the the house on fire.

Officials at the airport said the pilot, 80-year-old Cecil Murray, radioed moments after take off that the plane was having trouble and he was told to turn around and come back.

Firefighters quickly moved to extinguish the flames at the house near the intersection of Andrews Ave. and Commercial Blvd.

FAA officials told NBC News that only one person should have been on board the plane, according to the plane's flight plan.

"The plane disintegrated when it hit the house," Ft. Lauderdale FD official Matt Little said.

The small twin-engine Cessna 421C dropped out of the sky and sliced through a home just minutes after taking off. It is registered to Sebring Air Charter in Tamarac, and can seat up to eight passengers.

The plane clipped several power lines as it fell, knocking out electricity in the area and leaving several residents without power.

"I heard a big, booming crash," nearby neighbor Vicki Pal said. "I saw fires inside the house."

Pal, who lives five houses away from the crash, immediately called 911.

"I was on the phone, the phone went dead and there was this loud bang and a lot of black smoke emanating from the area," said Dorothy O'Brien, 83, who lives nearby. "Black, black smoke for at least ten minutes."

Neighbor Damian Figueroa was in his backyard when he heard the plane descend rapidly. " I heard the plane coming down and it was really loud," Figueroa said. " I saw a black cloud of smoke." 

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the plane was headed to Fernadina Beach, just outside Jacksonville.

The plane was headed to Fernandina Beach, just outside Jacksonville, where airport officials expected it to land around 1 p.m. But after takeoff, something went wrong. Shortly after it got into the air, it reported trouble to the tower, and the tower cleared it to turn around and land, said Chaz Adams, an airport spokesman. Before it could, it crashed.

The crash was at least the third involving Executive Airport, which caters to small planes and jets, in the last five years.

An aviation specialist said that the Cessna 421C is known for having stability problems when an engine fails. National Transportation Safety Board records show that Cessna 421s have been involved in 12 fatal accidents since 2004.

The plane flew over the roof of neighbor Maria Alfaro's house as she was eating breakfast inside.

"Through my windows, I saw the plane coming and it was so close to my roof," Alfaro said. It came down very close."

"I heard like a bomb, and I ran across the street and I saw a big fire and saw the black smoke," she said. "The ground shaked, it was terrible." 

Though the fire was under control, authorities were trying to determine how much fuel the plane was carrying and whether the engine had cooled before any search of the plane's wreckage could begin.

Oscar Nolasco's home burst into flames when the small plane plummeted in Oakland Park, Fla., around 11:20 a.m. The 52-year-old said his nephew, Alex Martines, left a short time before the plane hit to visit his aunt.

Nolasco said he thought it was a joke when authorities called him to tell him about the crash.

"Everything is gone," Nolasco said.

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