GREENWOOD, Ind. - The pilot of a private plane was killed and a passenger was critically injured Friday when the plane crashed into two homes near the Greenwood airport.
The plane went down on Patterson Street, just north of Main Street, and burned in the back yard of the second home that was struck.
The plane went down about 2:15 p.m., scraping the top of a house before hitting the back of a second home and bursting into flames.
The pilot, 46-year-old William Michael Gilliland of Greenwood, was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbors were able to pull the co-pilot from the plane as it burned.
Police said the co-pilot is Michael Joseph Elliott, from Tarpon Springs, Florida, who is an instructor.
Elliott was taken to Methodist Hospital and was said to be in critical condition.
Police said Gilliland, who had 14 years of flying experience, was trying to get an instrument certification, which is why Elliott was with him.
Gilliland is survived by his wife and their two daughters, ages 12 and 14.
A couple of residents reported they were slightly injured by some downed power lines, but officials said they are not seriously hurt.
The plane apparently lost power shortly after takeoff at Greenwood Municipal Airport, which is just west of Interstate 65 and south of County Line Road.
Amanda Siefert, a nearby resident who heard the crash, said her 8-year-old daughter was playing in a tree house and saw the plane go down.
"What (my daughter) told the detective was the plane came over the tree house, and there was smoke coming out of the front, and it teetered and swayed, and then it just dove."
According to FAA records, the plane is a Mooney M20 single-engine aircraft. Police said Gilliland bought it used a couple years ago.
Police said the plane was en route to Texas for an annual inspection.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to come from Chicago Saturday morning to investigate the crash.
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