SALT LAKE CITY A small plane crashed Wednesday in a Utah neighborhood, killing the pilot as the aircraft narrowly avoided hitting any townhomes, authorities said.
An unidentified 64-year-old pilot died in the crash of the twin-engine Cessna in the city of Roy, police Sgt. Matthew Gwynn said. Debris from the plane crashed through the roof of a home that didn't have anybody inside at the time, he said according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The pilot had taken off around 3 p.m. from an airport in Bountiful for what was supposed to be a short flight to an airport in Ogden, but he crashed about half a mile (1 kilometer) from the runway, Gwynn said.
Photos and videos that people posted online showed the wreckage on fire, with flames a few feet high topped by black smoke on a street with houses on both sides.
Adam Hensley told KSL-TV that he was driving on Interstate 15 when he saw the plane flying about 200 to 300 feet (60 to 90 meters) off the ground.
I could tell it was really struggling, he said. I could tell that the pilot was really trying to straighten out and balance the plane.
Hensley said he saw the plane pitch sharply left before nose-diving near the interstate and exploding. He did not see any smoke while the plane was in the air, and investigators have not said what caused the crash.
The crash occurred in Roy, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City near a small airport in Ogden. The area has seen other plane crashes in recent years.
A small plane crashed near Roy in November after hitting a billboard. Two people on board, a commercial pilot and a student, were injured. The same plane had made an emergency landing on Interstate 15 in May 2018.
Another small plane made an emergency landing on a nearby state highway in September 2017. Neither of the two people aboard was seriously injured.
In July 2017, two couples on vacation were killed when their small plane crashed.