Witnesses agreed with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sergeant John Sheahan that it was a miracle no one on the ground was hurt. "I think we can attribute that to the pilot trying to put it down in a safe place," he said in comments published on 9/7/10 in the Associated Press (AP). "You're talking the plane crashed maybe 20 or 30 feet [from the nearest home]."
A spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told AP that the light plane lifted off from Henderson Executive Airport with a pilot and three passengers on board shortly after 8 am on Monday morning. There was no flight plan filed, according to officials. The FAA said that initial reports suggest the plane could not gain altitude and that the pilot attempted to return to the airport but didn't make it, crashing about two miles northwest of the facility.
A policeman with the local force told the Las Vegas Sun that the plane struck two concrete block walls, a light standard and a tree before landing on the street in a residential neighborhood in southern Nevada. Eyewitnesses reported that the plane, already on fire, came to rest upside down. Robert Sutton told KLAS TV in Las Vegas that he and some nearby residents doused the plane with hoses before flipping the plane right side up and attempted to help two victims trapped inside.
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The injured were not identified, and it is not known if the individual who died was the pilot. Witnesses said two victims were in the plane when rescuers doused the plane and flipped it over, while two others were sitting in a nearby yard. It is not known if they were thrown from the wreckage or escaped on their own accord. Eyewitness Sutton told KLAS-TV that a woman he found inside the plane was conscious and coherent but badly burned.
The plane had arrived at Henderson the previous Thursday and was registered to a resident of Louisiana. The FAA said it is too early to tell what may have caused the plane accident, and that a preliminary report might be available in a week. The full investigation would likely take six months or more.