NEW CARROLLTON – A person is dead after their plane crashed into a New Carrollton home after lifting off from the College Park airport on Dec. 29.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that the plane, a Grumman American AA-5A, took off from the College Park Airport at about 2:48 p.m. as it headed towards White Plains, New York. The aircraft landed at a residence on the 6300 block of Chestnut Avenue at around 3:10 p.m.
Gordon Allen, 61, of Bronx, New York, was identified as the pilot by Maryland State Police (MSP) on Dec. 30.
Officials said that as the plane headed toward the home, it collided with the house carport and a vehicle that was located underneath the cover. The force of the crash caused the car to be pushed out to the driveway after making contact with the plane.
It was confirmed that the plane exploded moments after it crashed into the home, officials said.
Aside from the carport, the majority of the house was not affected, officials said. Mark Brady, spokesperson for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department, stated that a small fire started on the attic after the accident, but it was put out as soon as fire crews arrived at the scene. The crash caused a power outage to at least 18 homes, officials said.
Resident Maria Rae said that she heard an explosion and could see the fire from the plane crash from her home across the street on Auburn Avenue. She attempted to call 911 and talk to a dispatcher when “multiple explosions” could be seen happening at the house.
“I was talking to the dispatcher when another explosion happened,” Rae said. “People who were curious as to what happened quickly moved out of the way because of that. But that allowed police to arrive at the scene.”
In a press conference, Prince George’s County Acting Fire Chief Tiffany Green said only one house was damaged in the crash and hazmat crews were called to assess the damage. The calls of explosions in the area also caused the burn unit to come out to investigate the crash site as well.
“When we have an incident like this with an airplane like this, it is important to protect you from hazmat exposure,” Green said. “Our hazmat team plus our technical unit are on the scene to make sure that the carport is stable so we can go in and investigate as well as to make sure there is no runoff on damage or chemical performance.”
Investigators will be looking to see how weather conditions played a factor in the accident, but it was “underdetermined” at the time, Green added. The area was experiencing light drizzle, low visibility and clouds throughout the day before and after the crash.
Michael Curran, whose mother lives in one of the homes next to the one damaged in the accident, confirmed that the family who lives in residence was not home at the time of the crash but have been notified about the incident. His mother was at church at the time of the accident and called her son as soon as she arrived to see the damage.
“It seems to be mostly the carport and their vehicle that was left behind,” Curran said. “That is a relief somewhat, but we still don’t know how much smoke or water damage was left behind the house and obviously the plane.”
Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) and New Carrollton Police Department (NCPD) cut off access to Auburn Avenue and large portions of Good Luck Road as they began investigating the cause of the accident. Crews were still looking for clues as to what happened in the accident and continued to block access to the roads three hours after the crash.
According to Green, Maryland State Police will take over the investigation moving forward.