Small plane crashes in Wesley Chapel, narrowly missing homes; 1 dead

Pasco County


WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (WFLA) — Taneel Ziegler was inside her Wesley Chapel home with family when she heard a horrific noise outside — the sound of a plane crashing in her backyard.

“It sounded like a loud rumbling thunder that didn’t stop, and inside the house the walls were shaking and we all looked at each other like, ‘What was going on,'” Ziegler said.

She looked outside and the bright sunny day had suddenly turned dark.

“It was dark, like a big cloud had gone over the house and with a sunny day we had no idea what it could have been,” she said.

Just a few feet away from her home, a single engine Beechcraft airplane had crashed.

The pilot on board was killed and a fire erupted around the plane.

“I think all of the neighbors, everybody wanted to do what they could do to help,” said Ziegler.

There was nothing anyone could do to help the pilot.

Pasco County Fire Rescue soon arrived and put the flames out and determined one person in the plane had been killed.

“Firefighters quickly knocked the fire down,” said Corey Dierdorff of Pasco Fire Rescue. “There were no other people in danger but unfortunately we were able to confirm one fatality inside the plane.”

Laura Muscarella was just coming home and took a few images of her cell phone of the plane on fire.

“All of a sudden I just saw smoke and kind of realized it was close to us and as I pulled in I just went down to make sure it wasn’t anything that was going to catch,” Muscarella said.

The neighbors are just thankful no one else was killed.

“Thankfully it didn’t hit any of the homes and the neighbors are safe, so you know, hearts go out to the family of the pilot, that’s our biggest concern now,” Ziegler said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will now take over the investigation to determine what brought the plane down.


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