Plane Crash Kills 5 South of London

A small plane crashed into a residential area south of London on Sunday, killing five people and completely destroying a house, police and rescue officials said.

Fire and police officials said they had found no survivors amid the flaming wreckage. Officials said the plane was carrying two pilots and three passengers.

"No survivors were found, but I can confirm that there were no people involved in the houses," said Jim Bascran, of the London fire department.

Police said they would not release any more information on the identities of the dead until their next of kin had been notified.

The private plane crashed into a house in Farnborough in Kent, just south of London, sometime after 2:30 p.m. (1330 GMT), officials said. The neighborhood, Broadwater Gardens, lies near Biggin Hill Airport, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from central London.

The small airport was an important Royal Air Force fighter station during World War II, but now serves private jets and helicopters.

Biggin Hill Airport said the plane, a Cessna Citation jet popular with business travelers, reported difficulties shortly after takeoff.

"The pilot made a call to say he was experiencing a problem and requested permission to land, but unfortunately crashed before reaching the airport," Biggin Hill said in a statement.

Sky News television said the plane was headed to France. It did not cite a source for the information and an airport spokeswoman said she did not know the plane's destination.

Residents told the broadcaster they heard a plane flying in very low before it slammed into a house.

A pilot, who gave his name only as John, told Sky he was about to land at Biggin Hill when a mayday call came over the radio from the plane that crashed.

The pilot from the stricken plane said the aircraft was experiencing severe engine vibrations and alarms could be heard going off in the cockpit, John said. The pilot said he had five people onboard and wanted to make an emergency landing, he added.

John said after he landed he turned back to see the stricken plane just before it came down.

"It nose dived out of the sky and the radio went dead," he said.

Karl Mills said the plane nearly hit his house.

"It was the loudest noise I ever heard. It was like a bolt of thunder," Mills told Sky News. "I looked out and saw a ball of fire."

He said the plane crashed into the roof of a neighboring house before bursting into flames.