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Police: Five dead in plane crash south of London

  • Story Highlights
  • Scotland Yard says all aboard plane die after crash 25 miles south of London
  • Emergency official says rescuers unable to reach wreckage for 3 hours
  • Police: No fatalities on ground
  • Witness: "Everyone was running around and panicking"
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A small plane crashed into several homes in a neighborhood outside London Sunday afternoon, killing all five on board, Scotland Yard reported.

The private aircraft, with a two-person crew and three passengers on board, apparently hit the roof of a residential building in the town of Farnborough, about 25 km (15 miles) southeast of London.

One house was destroyed and part of a neighboring property was damaged, said the London Fire Brigade, which sent eight fire engines and 40 firefighters to battle the blaze.

The identities of the dead had not been released late Sunday. Video Watch witnesses describe the ball of fire »

There were no serious injuries reported on the ground. Ian Todd, assistant director of operations for London Ambulance Services, said one person who suffered an asthma attack and another who suffered shock as a result of the crash were treated at a nearby hospital.

The homeowners of the destroyed residence were away on vacation, neighbors said.

Gary Wallcraft said he was playing soccer nearby when he saw "a white thing coming towards me." The aircraft pulled up and appeared to clip some trees, he said.

"All I heard was a big explosion," Wallcraft said. "Everyone was running around and panicking."

A spokeswoman for Biggin Hill airport in Kent said a Cessna Citation Jet reported difficulty shortly after leaving the airport. The pilot contacted air traffic control at Biggin Hill and asked to return, she said -- but before he could make it back, the aircraft hit the houses in Farnborough.

Britain's Air Accident Investigation Unit has been informed of the crash, she said.

Scotland Yard said the aircraft went down at about 2:37 p.m. (9:37 a.m. ET). According to Todd, fire services were unable to approach the wreckage for three hours because of the safety concerns.

"The prime consideration is safety," Todd said. "There is aviation fuel involved, and also gas canisters have been located at the scene of the incident which are currently being cooled to make it safe to approach." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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