ROSEVILLE, Calif. – A single-engine plane that appeared to have been performing an aerobatic stunt lost control and crashed into a suburban home Sunday, killing at least two people and sparking a fire that gutted the house, police said.
The crash left a gaping, smoldering hole in the two-story house it directly hit and set fire to an adjacent house, damaging the garage and attic, said Roseville Fire Marshall Dennis Mathisen. One body was visible in the wreckage.
The Federal Aviation Administration reported two deaths, including the pilot, and said two people were missing in the home.
T. Sinclair, a deputy sheriff and deputy coroner, said two people were in the plane. He added that although no one could have survived, the FAA was not letting emergency officials into the house to retrieve bodies until Monday.
One resident of the house was missing, but it was unclear whether he had been in the house at the time, Sinclair said.
The plane — which the FAA identified as a 1996 Glasair II — appeared to be doing an aerobatic maneuver when it crashed just before 11:30 a.m., Roseville Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said.
"The pilot appeared to be coming down low for some kind of maneuver that brought him to within 500 feet of the rooftops," she said. "And then he appeared to lose control and crashed into one of the houses."
Rick Wurster, who lives about a half mile from the crash, saw the plane attempting to make a figure eight.
"He couldn't pull up because he didn't have enough altitude," Wurster said. "I saw him do two spins and then go over the tree line. A second later, I heard two booms."
The pilot wasn't communicating with air traffic controllers at the time of the crash, Gunther said.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, which also set fire to two neighboring homes, said Bruce Nelson, an operations officer for the FAA in Los Angeles.
"The main house has substantial damage but the other two, their damage isn't going to be as much," he said.
Roseville is about 16 miles northeast of Sacramento.