Small-plane crash sets Pa. home on fire; no residents hurt, number of people on plane unknown

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Small plane crashes into Pa. home, sets it ablaze

SALINA, Pa. — A twin-engine plane slammed into a house in western Pennsylvania minutes after takeoff on Saturday, narrowly missing a man sleeping on his couch with his dog and setting the residence on fire. Authorities said they did not know how many people were aboard nor whether any were injured.

Westmoreland County spokesman Dan Stevens said the plane went through the house and landed in the garage, passing just to the right of the man when it came down in a rural area about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

“God was on his side, without a doubt,” Stevens said.

Steve Yanko and the dog escaped from the house, according to his wife, Rose Yanko, 66, who was shopping at a flea market at the time, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said. She spoke briefly to thank emergency crews who responded to the fire. She and her husband were planning to stay with her mother, she said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the BE58 Beech Baron took off from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pa., at 9:08 a.m. Saturday and crashed 11 minutes later.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said officials were trying to determine whether more than one person was aboard, because the plane was flying under visual flight rules and did not have to file a flight plan.

The FAA said earlier that the aircraft was registered to a Westmoreland County materials testing firm, but Stevens said officials had still not confirmed the identification number. The bricks and concrete blocks making up the garage walls and roof had buried the plane, and rescuers were removing it brick by brick, he said.

Stevens said local officials believed they knew who the plane belonged to but would release no information until they could confirm the tail number.

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