A small plane trying to make an emergency landing crashed into two houses Tuesday, killing five people and starting fires that seriously burned three others in one of the homes, authorities said.
NASCAR confirmed that Dr. Bruce Kennedy, a Daytona Beach plastic surgeon and husband of International Speedway Corporation President Lesa France Kennedy, and NASCAR Aviation pilot Michael Klemm were among the dead. The plane was registered to a Daytona Beach company linked to NASCAR's late chairman.
The identities of the victims on the ground were not immediately released.
Authorities said an adult and two children died in the homes that were quickly gutted by the fire after the airplane crashed in the suburban Orlando neighborhood around 8:40 a.m.
The crash comes on the heels on of the death of former NASCAR
chairman Bill France Junior. He died June fourth at his Daytona
Beach home. He was 74. Lesa France Kennedy is France's daughter.
Authorities did not release the identities of the others killed.
Matt Minnetto, a fire investigator with Sanford Fire Department, said two people aboard the plane were confirmed dead in the crash and the plane itself was scattered in several pieces. At least three people were injured in one of the homes, including two adults and a boy about 10 years old who had burns over 80 to 90 percent of his body, Minnetto said.
"They have shut down the entire neighborhood, and they are evacuating people in the area because there have been explosions since the plane hit the home," reports CBS affiliate WKMG.
The twin engine Cessna 310 was registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau Inc. of Daytona Beach, said Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration. Competitor Liaison is based in Daytona Beach and registered under the name of William C. France, the late chairman of NASCAR, online records from the Department of State Division of Corporations show. James C. France also is listed as an officer of the company.
The plane was traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland when the pilot declared smoke in the cockpit. The pilot was attempting to land at the Orlando Sanford International Airport when the plane crashed about a mile or two north of the airport, Bergen said.
A firefighter who responded to the blazes was also hurt trying to reach the victims.
Eric Domnitz, who lives just down the street from the crash, said the fire was twice the size of a normal two-story house in the neighborhood. He hurried with a fire extinguisher to a horrific scene and said he saw some of the victims.
"It's in my head. The woman was just melting. It looked like her skin was just melting off," he said. "The guy, he was melting. He looked like wax."
Neighbors reported hearing a wooshing sound and the crash explosion as they were readying for their days.
"I've never seen so many flames, never in all my life," Marcela Rodriguez told the Orlando Sentinel. She was eating breakfast at a friend's home when the plane crashed two houses away.
Rodriguez said she ran out and was unable to see anyone because of the heat and flames.
Heather Stahley, who also lives in the neighborhood, told the Orlando Sentinel she was upstairs with her two children when she heard the "boom, boom, boom" of the crash.
"Then I saw the two homes engulfed in flames and black smoke," she said. "I just couldn't believe it was happening."