SALINA, Pa. – A twin-engine plane slammed into a house in western Pennsylvania minutes after takeoff on Saturday, killing two men, and narrowly missing a man sleeping on his couch with his dog and setting the residence on fire.
Westmoreland County spokesman Dan Stevens said the plane, on a certification flight, went through the house and landed in the garage, passing just to the right of the man when it came down in a rural area about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
"God was on his side, without a doubt," Stevens said.
Steve Yanko and the dog escaped from the house, according to his wife, Rose Yanko, 66, who was shopping at a flea market at the time, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said. She spoke briefly to thank emergency crews who responded to the fire. She and her husband were planning to stay with her mother, she said.
Stevens said the bodies were recovered from the wreckage shortly after 3 p.m. after rescuers unearthed the plane from the collapsed garage. He said autopsies were scheduled for Sunday. He said officials believed only two men were aboard but were continuing the search and had not yet unearthed the tail section and confirmed the identification number.
The FAA said earlier that the aircraft was registered to a Westmoreland County materials testing firm, but Stevens said the number had not been confirmed. The bricks and concrete blocks making up the garage walls and roof had buried the plane, and rescuers were removing it brick by brick, he said.
Stevens said local officials believed they knew who the plane belonged to but would release no information until they could confirm the tail number.