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updated: 9/10/2012 10:41 AM

Plane from Wheeling airport crashes; pilot killed

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Daily Herald report

A pilot was killed Sunday when a small plane that took off from Wheeling crashed into a yard along Eagle Lake in Kansasville in southeastern Wisconsin, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

Officials from the Racine County medical examiner's office still have not released the name of the pilot of the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza that was flying from Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling to Minocqua in north-central Wisconsin.

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The plane crashed and hit a building, FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said. The pilot, who was the only person onboard, was killed and the plane was destroyed, he said. No injuries on the ground were reported.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, and the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

"Fire units quickly extinguished the flames, which destroyed the plane, a garage, two cars, damaged two homes and other outbuildings," Kansasville Fire Chief Chad Franks said. "The incident is now under investigation by the Racine County Sheriff's Office and the FAA."

The plane's tail number was registered to a Chicago address.

The crash is the first of a plane departing from Chicago Executive Airport since Dec. 22, 2010, when a single-engine craft went down in a Wheeling parking lot shortly after takeoff, killing a teenage passenger from downstate Jacksonville, Ill. and seriously injuring the pilot.

A Streamwood couple and one other person were killed in November when a medical transport plane crashed while making an approach for landing at the Wheeling airport.

Brian Block was sitting in his living room Sunday when he heard the sound of a plane engine close by and louder than normal.

"Then 'ka-boom!' The whole house shook," Block told The Times Journal of Racine.

Block jumped in his car and drove a block to the scene where he saw flames coming from a small plane sitting in a neighbor's yard.

Travis Barstad said debris including plane parts was scattered everywhere. Roofing and siding hung off houses and burned car shells were visible, he said.

"I heard people screaming, 'It's a plane! It's a plane!'" he said.

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