11 dead in plane collision over New Jersey

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Two small planes collided over a neighborhood in southeast New Jersey, killing at least 11 people and sending part of the wreckage plunging onto a house, setting it on fire.

No injuries were reported on the ground.

At least eight of those killed were aboard a Piper Navajo that took off from Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station, said Arlene Salac, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. A ninth body was discovered among the plane's wreckage Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators at the crash site found a flight manifest from the shuttle that listed nine people on board, said State Police Maj. Barry Roberson.

It was a daily shuttle flight, operated by a civilian contractor, from Lakehurst to Trenton and then to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, about 60 miles southeast of Washington, D.C., said Lakehurst spokesman Lawrence Lyford.

He said he did not know the identities of any of the occupants.

Two people - a flight instructor and a student - died on the second plane, a Piper Seminole from Northeast Philadelphia Airport, Salac said. The instructor was identified as Craig Robinson, 28, of Hamilton Township, N.J. The student was a licensed pilot working on his commercial license, Hortman Aviation owner Herb Hortman said.

The sky was cloudy at the time of the crash, but visibility was about 10 miles, according to the National Weather Service.

The couple who lived in the house that was struck escaped unharmed. Fire extensively damaged their two-story home, in a suburban development about 10 miles south of Trenton.

Ed Trzaskawka said he was getting ready for work when one of the planes crashed through the roof of the garage.

''Another few feet and it would have been in my ear,'' Trzaskawka said. He said he and wife Cathy grabbed the dog and ran out the back of the house.

Resident Antoinette Carnivale said she saw the planes collide.

''I saw smoke and flames and pieces coming down,'' she said.

An airplane tail section landed in a field several hundred yards from homes, and what appeared to be a piece of a wing fell on the roof of another home.

The Piper Navajo was registered to Tigress Aviation, Inc. of California, Md., according to FAA spokesman John Clabes. FAA records show no accidents or incidents involving that plane, Clabes said.

The 1978 Piper Seminole was privately owned and based in Delaware. FAA records showed one minor incident involving the plane's landing gear in 1989, FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said.


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