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Plane Crashes Into Homes Near Laurel: Pilot Seriously Injured, 2 Families Displaced

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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MARYLAND CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Federal investigators are on the scene of a small plane that crashes moments after takeoff near Laurel.

Derek Valcourt spoke with a man who pulled the pilot from the wreckage.

He, like many neighbors, shocked by what happened. Investigators are on the scene trying to piece it all together.

From Sky Eye Chopper 13 you can see the small 1963 Beechcraft Musketeer plane that crashed into two homes in Maryland City’s Parkway Village neighborhood shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday morning.

“I was standing in the kitchen of my home and I heard a loud boom,” said Joe Arrington, helped pilot.

Neighbor Joe Arrington rushed out his door, saw the plane and sprang into action to help save the 70-year-old pilot.

“I immediately smelled gasoline or diesel fuel or something. And this guy is hurt really bad,” Arrington said.

“‘Let’s get him out of here’ is what I stated. Dragged him from that plane about 25 feet,” he continued. “I further comforted him. I told told him my name and that he was going to be alright and that 911 was on the way.”

That pilot’s been identified as Ronald Dixon of Bowie. He was rushed to the hospital. Investigators say he was not the plane’s owner.

“The aircraft is currently under sale by one individual to another and it was being delivered to the new owner,” said Todd Gunther, NTSB.

State police say the pilot had taken off just moments earlier from Suburban Airport. A small runway just about a mile up the road from the crash site. They say the plane wasn’t gaining enough altitude.

“The engine was sputtering,” a witness said.

As the plane descended, it struck a tree, lodged a wing in one trailer home before ultimately slamming into another.

Luckily, no one was inside either home at the time, but those trailers are now uninhabitable. The Red Cross is helping the two displaced families.

“It’s just really, really lucky that he didn’t take out whole homes with people inside. That’s what I’m really thankful about today,” said Arrington.

The pilot’s injuries are serious but not life-threatening. Investigators have a lot to look at in the next few days, including whether the plane’s maintenance played a factor, whether it was pilot error or whether the weather actually played a role.

NTSB investigators expect to be on-scene through Saturday as they try to determine the cause of the crash.

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