November 18, 2014

Pilot dead after plane crashes into house near Chicago's Midway Airport

The plane that crashed last night in the 6500 block of south Knox Ave. near Chicago Midway International Airport is slowly pulled away from the home it crashed into. The aircraft was lowered, cut apart and removed.

A pilot is dead after his small plane crashed into a home just shy of the runway at Chicago's Midway International Airport.

The turboprop aircraft went down around 2:45 a.m., sources told WBBM. It nosedived into the living room of two-story home.

The plane's original flight plan called for it to land at Chicago Executive Airport, in Wheeling, according to the station, but it then abruptly changed course for Ohio State University Airport, in Columbus, Ohio.

The pilot was the only person in the plane when it crashed, authorities told WLS.

It is not clear what caused the crash, but authorities told WBBM that he indicated having engine problems while trying to return to Midway.

Images from the scene show half the plane inside the home with the tail end sticking up in the air.

"The house shook. It wasn't a big boom noise," neighbor Robin Vrablic told WBBM.

"It just shook the ground, and the chandelier had shaken, or something, so we went out the front, and went down there, and I was astounded that it took the whole front of that house out."

An elderly couple inside the home when the plane hit was miraculously uninjured, authorities said. No one else on the ground was injured either.

Neighbor Luz Cazares, 62, told WLS she dragged the woman to safety, her husband escaped on his own.

"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," she said.

Another neighbor told WBBM the couple was okay but dazed.

Their son, Rick Rolinskas, told WBBM they planned to soon renovate the home.

"Sad to say, she always wanted to remodel the house," he explained. "It's not the way to do it. I just feel so bad for the pilot, and the family. It's a terrible thing."

The airport is tucked into a mostly residential community with houses on nearly all sides, including each end of the main runways.

Previous incidents have seen planes skid off the runway onto residential streets in icy conditions.

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