Small plane crashes into home in Chicago

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A small plane crashed into a home on Chicago's Southwest Side near Midway International Airport Tuesday morning. (WLS)

A small plane crashed into a home on Chicago's Southwest Side near Midway International Airport Tuesday morning.

Federal Aviation Administration officials said the Aero Commander 500 cargo jet took off from Midway headed for Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling. But shortly after take-off, it crashed about a quarter-mile from its runway. Aviation officials said the pilot reported engine trouble and asked to return to Midway.

The single-engine plane crashed into a two-story bungalow in the 6500-block of South Knox Avenue around 2:45 a.m. Tuesday, according to Chicago Police Department spokesman Ron Gaines. The plane crashed through the front of the building, through the living and dining rooms and into the basement, fire officials said. The plane is wedged between two houses, with the nose down into one house and the tail up with the body resting on the roof of the home next door.

Crews are trying to get into the plane and locate the pilot. Gaines said the pilot's condition is unknown. An elderly man and woman were inside the home at the time of the crash, but they were not injured and got out safely, thanks to a neighbor.

PHOTOS: Small plane crashes into SW Side home after Midway takeoff

The active scene is blocked to traffic, but no major roads are closed in the area. The Chicago Water Reclamation District is looking into a possible jet fuel spill because there is concern about fuel in the water system.

FAA and National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating the crash.

Luz Cazares, 62, lives next door and said when she initially heard the crash and then saw the plane in the home, she thought the people inside--who she's known for 22 years--were dead.

Cazares and her husband ran outside and saw the couple waving for help through the window of their house. The man and woman, who are 82 and 84 years old, were standing in the hallway outside their bedroom, which is right by the living room where the plane had crashed, she said.

"I walked to the back of the yard, I jumped the fence. I opened the back door of the kitchen and I took (the woman) outside," Cazares said.

She said police got the man out.

Cazares said she and her husband check up on them from time to time. Cazares' home was one of the residences evacuated. Her husband and son were staying across the street at a neighbor's house, while Cazares decided to stay at her daughter's house in Burbank.

The Associated Press and Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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