Light plane crashes in Sydney neighborhood, narrowly missing houses and schools; 2 killed

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Light plane crashes in Sydney neighborhood; 2 dead

SYDNEY — Two people were killed after their light plane crashed in a Sydney neighborhood Tuesday, narrowly missing houses and an elementary school. Seven people on the ground were hospitalized for emotional distress.

The charred aircraft was so mangled after crashing into a power pole that authorities initially had trouble determining how many people were on board.

Police later confirmed two people were on the plane and both were killed, federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese told Parliament.

Debris from the crash smashed into a car with three children and an adult inside. Two of the children and the driver were among the seven people hospitalized for apparent shock.

The crash was near Canley Vale Public School and a home in western Sydney, and emergency officials evacuated about 80 students, teachers and parents to a nearby park.

Fuel from the burning wreckage poured into a drain and set fire to a parked car that was later extinguished. The plane also brought down power lines, cutting electricity to thousands of homes.

While in the air the pilot told Bankstown Airport traffic control tower he was losing altitude and having trouble spotting a place to land.

“We’re not maintaining height here — you got any ideas? … Are there any good roads around?” the pilot asked, according to a recording on, a website devoted to controller talk.

An air-traffic controller suggested a nearby highway, but the pilot responded seconds later, “We’ve got no height here, sorry.”

The controller then advised landing on a raceway, but the pilot said he couldn’t see it.

The plane crashed moments later.

will not be displayed