Six killed when small plane crashes into Maryland house

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(CNN) — Six people died Monday when a small plane crashed into a house in Gaithersburg, Maryland, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Public Information Officer Pete Piringer. Three were passengers in the plane and three were in the house, he said.

Investigators are trying to verify what happened to the three missing individuals, who may have been inside the house in Gaithersburg, Maryland, when the plane crashed.

“We are trying to confirm their status,” Montgomery County Fire Chief Steve Lohr said during a news conference near the scene Monday afternoon. “We are unable to account for the residents of the home.”

A woman who lives near the scene of the plane crash told CNN affiliate WUSA she might have heard victims calling for help. “I heard screams and somebody else beside me heard screams, but we’re not sure if it was from inside the house or behind the house. … We’re not completely sure it came from inside the house, but we did hear screams.”

Three known victims were all on board the aircraft and died in the accident, according to Montgomery County fire spokesman Pete Pringer.

The witness also described how she first became aware that something was terribly wrong.

“At first I heard a big sputtering sound. By the time we rushed over here, you see a plane hit the side of the house and then crash right down and there was a big explosion,” the woman said.

She also says she heard a loud booming sound. “By then, the flames were just so high and then it was a big mushroom effect of smoke and it just burst into flames.”

Another witness told CNN affiliate ABC7 the plane was struggling to maintain altitude before nosediving out of control and crashing.

The Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin-engine aircraft was on approach to Montgomery County Airport when the accident happened around 11 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“The aircraft was on approach to Runway 14 at the airport when the accident occurred,” FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac said in a statement.

Two neighboring houses were damaged in the explosion and fire.

The FAA and officials with the National Transportation Safety Board are also on the scene.

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