(CBS News) Federal air-safety investigators are combing through a disaster scene in Connecticut, where a small plane crashed into two homes.
although the exact number of victims is still not known.
The pilot has been identified by relatives as Bill Henningsgaard of Astoria, Ore., a former executive at Microsoft who was taking his high-school-aged son on a tour of U.S. colleges, Lou Young of CBS New York station WCBS-TV reports.
The investigation is just beginning, but Henningsgaard did top-off his fuel at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport before making the trip to Tweed New Haven Airport and crashed at such a sharp angle that the trees around the crash site were completely untouched.
Federal investigators say the crash scene in East Haven, Conn., is so mangled and complex that recovery workers haven't yet located all the bodies.
"Part of the plane is actually in the basement, and obviously some of the house is in the basement as well, so as I speak to you now the state police are working with the fire department to go through the house to look for the victims," Robert Gretz, a senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, told reporters.
Officials say at least two people were on the twin-engine plane, known as a Twin Commander, that fell from the sky on approach to Tweed New Haven.
"We seen the plane twirling, and it spiraled down; we seen it hit the house," witness Dennis Karjanis said.
"A woosh of air come down, and I felt the ground shake, and I heard the explosion," witness Joe Euskozitz said.
The plane came down in the middle of a neat row of Cape Cod houses a stone's throw from the airport. Firefighters fought the blaze in driving rain. Two houses went up.
With two children among the presumed dead, would-be rescuers are haunted by the memories of the mother who met them out on the front lawn begging for help.
"She was very, very out of control because her 1-year-old and 13-year-old were inside," said Karjanis, "and the two guys who had run inside said the wing of the plane was sitting on the crib."