“I can confirm that there have been several fatalities, both from the aircraft and from the mobile home,” Ehlers said. Police Chief Eric Gandy said they knew there were deaths visually from the scene.
At least three homes were damaged in the fire, Ehlers said. Apart from the one directly hit, people in other houses were able to get out, he said.
The pilot of the Beechcraft Bonanza V35 reported engine failure before the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Helicopter video from Tampa’s NBC affiliate WFLA showed the wreckage of what appeared to be all or part of a home and firefighters using flashlights at the scene as smoke rose. Firefighters were pouring water into a building with a fire hose.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, the FAA said.
The pilot called a mayday at a nearby airport and then the plane went off radar about 3 miles north of the runway, Ehlers said.
Ehlers said he expected more injuries and more damage with the plane crash in the compact residential area.
“We were very lucky,” he told reporters at the scene.