SANFORD, Fla. - A small plane trying to make an emergency landing crashed into a suburban Orlando neighborhood Tuesday, killing both people aboard and starting two house fires that seriously burned two adults and a 10-year-old boy, authorities said.
The plane was registered to a company linked to NASCAR's late chairman. The identities of the dead were not immediately released. A NASCAR spokesman in Charlotte, N.C., said the public relations staff was "in the information gathering stage" but he had no further details.
Both homes were largely gutted by the flames, and smoke could be seen rising from the neighborhood where the plane went down around 8:40 a.m.
Matt Minnetto, a fire investigator with Sanford Fire Department, said two people aboard the plane were confirmed dead in the crash and the plane itself was scattered in several pieces. At least three people were injured in one of the homes, including a boy about 10 years old who had burns over 80 to 90 percent of his body, Minnetto said.
The other home was believed to have been empty, but there were questions about whether another member of the injured family, a toddler, might be missing, Minnetto said. He said authorities hadn't yet determined if the other child was at the home at the time.
The twin engine Cessna 310 was registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau Inc. of Daytona Beach, said Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Competitor Liaison is registered under the name of William C. France, the late chairman of NASCAR, according to online records from the Department of State Division of Corporations show. James C. France is listed as an officer of the company.
The plane was traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland when the pilot declared smoke in the cockpit. The pilot was attempting to land at the Orlando Sanford International Airport when the plane crashed about a mile or two north of the airport, Bergen said.
A message left with an airport spokeswoman was not immediately returned.