Small planes crash, kill 7

January 12, 2008 9:05:44 PM PST
A small plane crashed in a rural residential area as its pilot prepared to land Saturday, killing four people aboard, a sheriff's department said.

No injuries were reported to people on the ground.

The crew of the twin-engine Cessna 340 had radioed their intention to land at the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport at about noon, airport director Jack Stables said.

He did not know where the flight originated.

The two men and two women on board were killed, the State Highway Patrol said.

Stables said he watched the plane fly across a field near the airport to begin the landing pattern. Its landing gear and flaps were down, apparently in preparation for landing, he said.

"Everything seemed normal and I could hear both engines working fine," he said. "Then we never heard from them again."

The plane crashed in a rural residential area about 200 or 300 feet from a house, Stables said.

Hours later in St. Petersburg, Fla., a single-engine plane crashed into Tampa Bay while trying to land at St.

Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, killing three people aboard, authorities said.

The Cessna 172 crashed into the water about 100 yards short of the runway, authorities said. Two men and one woman died, airport director Noah Lagos said.

There was no emergency call, said Tom Iovino, spokesman for Pinellas County, which owns the airport. No flight plan was filed for the plane, he said.