CARTERVILLE, Mo. -- A private plane carrying at least five people crashed into a garage early Friday, killing everyone aboard.
The twin-engine plane had left Lake Charles, La., and was heading for Joplin Regional Airport when it crashed shortly before 1 a.m., Jasper County Sheriff's Capt. Tony Coleman said.
The plane hit a home's attached garage, but no one was injured on the ground. Mike Spry, 49, and his 25-year-old son were asleep in the home at the time.
"I just heard a big boom. Like most people, I tried to rationalize it -- I figured it was a car crash," Spry said. "I just didn't figure a plane would come falling out of the sky."
When he got up and saw his kitchen wall was bowed inward, he then suspected a gas explosion. He finally realized it was a plane when he saw neighbors inspecting the wreckage with flashlights. The roof and part of the walls were sheared off the garage and the car inside was heavily damaged.
The exact number of dead was still uncertain hours after the crash.
"We're aware of at least five people, but there's some question whether there was a sixth person on board," Coleman said. He didn't know who owned the plane or who was on board.
Witnesses reported seeing no flames after the crash, and Coleman said investigators would look into the possibility that the plane had run out of fuel.
Debris and remains were scattered over a wide area in the residential neighborhood of mostly newer, one-story homes.
The National Weather Service reported overcast conditions at Joplin around the time the plane went down. The pilot had been in touch with controllers at Springfield Regional Airport, about 75 miles east, before the crash.
"There's some indication they were in trouble, but we don't have the exact wording from the tapes yet," Coleman said.
Tapes of that conversation will be reviewed by investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, he said.
Authorities cordoned off the neighborhood while awaiting the investigators Friday morning.
The largest visible piece of wreckage -- the tail of the propeller-driven plane -- lay in the middle of a street. Other bits of wreckage were strewn over several yards.
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