A pilot was killed Saturday morning when a small plane crashed into the side of a north Florida home, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
The family inside the home managed to escape the home without injury, the Sheriff’s Office said.
A picture a viewer sent to Action News Jax shows the moment when a plane crashed into the front yard of the Lake City home.
In the picture, a man in an orange shirt can be seen running across the yard to try to help the pilot, but he had to retreat because the flames were too extensive.
JUST IN: A viewer sent this picture of what appears to be a small plane on fire. It crashed into a home in the area of Southwest Creekside Lane in Lake City. I’m headed to the scene and working to learn more details from officials. @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/fWRXcKZNsq— Jamarlo Phillips (@JamarloANjax) January 25, 2020
Neighbors watched as a ball of fire flared up in their neighbor’s yard.
Kristy Amato said she hears many small planes and often worries about them.
“I was sitting on my couch watching a movie with my daughter, and I heard a plane take off like all of the planes take off," Amato told Action News Jax. “Then I heard a backfire, then a loud kaboom, so I ran out front and there was a plane in my neighbor’s yard on fire.”
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Murray Smith told Action News Jax that after crews put the fire out, the pilot’s body was found underneath debris.
“Shortly before 10, we received about 59 911 calls,” Smith told the television station. Smith said he believes the plane was a single-engine aircraft.
DEVELOPING: A pilot is dead after crashing a plane into a home in Lake City. Columbia County Sheriff Spokesman Murray Smith tells me his office received over fifty 911 calls from neighbors this morning. @ActionNewsJax @WOKVNews pic.twitter.com/w1hpilaPTR— Jamarlo Phillips (@JamarloANjax) January 25, 2020
The National Transportation Safety Board is now working to find out where the Piper PA-32 was going and the name of the pilot who died. Officials believe he was the only person on the plane.
“There is an airport nearby, but so many neighbors have come over and gave so many stories, so we’re just going to wait for NTSB to get all of the facts straight,” said Smith.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB are investigating what caused the plane to crash, but the investigation likely won’t be complete for months.