South Bend plane crash: 2 killed, 3 injured when small jet hits three homes

Tribune reporters

Two people were killed and three people hospitalized when a small plane crashed into three homes in South Bend, Ind., Sunday afternoon.

The crash happened about 3:15 p.m. as the plane, which had taken off from a Tulsa, Okla., airport, made an approach to South Bend, said Elizabeth Isham Cory, an FAA spokeswoman.

The pilot radioed the airport tower as he was approaching the airport, signaling that he was having electrical problems, Cory said. The pilot made multiple approaches to the airport, and the airplane stalled and fell, hitting at least one structure, Cory said.

The identities of the two people who perished were not known late Sunday night, said South Bend Police Capt. Philip Trent.

Three others were hurt and taken to Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Trent said.

“Two were in good condition and one was in serious condition,’’ he said.

The South Bend Tribune reported late Sunday that the most seriously injured survivor had undergone surgery.

None of the victims are children and Trent said the small corporate plane had four people on board.

Trent said it was possible some of the victims could have been on the ground in the residential area when the plane crashed into three houses in the 1500 block of North Iowa Street.

“The aircraft had attempted some landing and was in distress when it crashed,’’ Trent said. “It was in a residential area that would be southeast of the airport."

“It hit or grazed one house and then hit another one squarely and then embedded itself into a third house,’’ Trent said.“It caused a substantial discharge of jet fuel.''

The plane’s fuselage is still in the home, but no fire has erupted.

“It’s a jet aircraft, however, it’s designed for corporate or business it’s not commercial,’’ Trent said.

The Premier Jet, manufactured by Hawker Beechcraft Corp., is registered to a Montana company, according to federal aircraft registration records.

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