Witnesses describe fiery scene of Clearwater plane crash

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — As a single-engine Beech aircraft flew over Clearwater, its pilot radioed the tower, telling them he was in trouble.

“Copy to Albert Whitted, I can’t see the other airport. I’m losing engine,” said the pilot in a radio transmission.

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Seconds later, his aircraft would hit the ground. Other pilots immediately radioed the tower about what they saw.

“Tampa, a plane just hit the ground really hard,” said one unidentified pilot.

Other pilots soon sent messages to the tower about damage on the ground.

“Tampa, looks like there is a structure fire down there, looks like he hit a building. He is definitely into a house, the whole house is demolished,” said one pilot as he flew over the scene.

On the ground, witnesses described a chaotic scene of fire and damage.

“It happened so fast, if anybody was in the house, there was no going in and helping nobody,” said Sheila Hastings.

Pilot flying over Clearwater witnesses deadly plane crash: ‘They went down hard. They’re in flames’

Others saw the plane from the ground, moments before it hit.

“I was outside and I heard a loud swoosh sound and I looked up into the sky, and I saw a small plane go over. I saw it briefly. It was traveling completely,” Hastings said. “I saw it up in the sky so we knew it was going to hit.”

Lillian Henry lives very close to where the plane hit a home. She immediately went to the home of a 90-year-old friend to make sure she got out of her home before it caught fire.

“My first instinct when I opened my door and I see the fire and I run to my neighbor, she is my very best friend, and I knocked on her door to tell her there is fire behind,” said Henry.

Both women are okay tonight, but they say the crash will touch the lives of many in their community.

“Thank goodness for us, but I felt so bad for them because, I’m sure if I see their faces, I will know them because we are one community,” said Henry.

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