Three people are dead and three remain unaccounted for after a small jet crashed into a home in Gaithersburg, Md., Monday morning.
Montgomery County Fire Chief Steven Lohr told reporters that three people aboard the airplane were killed in the crash, while three in the house that was hit, reportedly a mother and her two young children, remain unaccounted for. Investigators are trying to determine whether there was a fourth person aboard the downed airplane.
The 10-seat corporate jet was a 2009 Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin-engine jet registered to Sage Aviation of Chapel Hill, N.C. The airplane was on approach to runway 14 at Montgomery County Airpark when it crashed less than a mile from the airport around 10:45 a.m.
Witnesses said the airplane appeared to be struggling to maintain altitude before it went into a nosedive and crashed into the house belly-up and exploded. The crash caused a fire that spread to two adjacent homes. The house that the airplane struck is in line with the runway, according to various reports.
Both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating, but it could be several weeks before a preliminary report is released.
Arlington, Va.’s ABC7 News reviewed air traffic control tapes recorded just before the crash and said there was talk of a large number of birds near the airport at the time, but it is too early to tell whether they may have caused the plane to crash.
There was also light snow falling in the area at the time, but the airplane’s pilot didn’t report any icing issues.
ABC7 News reported that Michael J. Rosenberg, the CEO of North Carolina-based Health Decisions, was among the three people confirmed dead on the plane. Mr. Rosenberg was described as “an experienced pilot” by those who knew him.
Dr. Rosenberg was a Harvard-educated physician and a celebrated author, according to Heavy.com. In 2010, he was involved in another airplane crash while attempting to land at the same airport. His single-engine airplane crashed into a stand of trees and he sustained non-life-threatening injuries in that incident.