Two people died Wednesday when a small plane crashed on the grounds of a historical farmstead outside Minneapolis shortly after takeoff, authorities said.
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said the twin-engine Beechcraft 18 had left the Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie when it turned around, tried to return to the airport and crashed.
She said the plane was heading to Wisconsin, and a database maintained by Landings.com listed the plane as registered to an Osceola, Wis. address.
FAA registration records indicate the plane was built in 1958, and was in the process of being sold.
Eden Prairie police Sgt. Bill Wyffels said at an afternoon news conference that the identities of those killed had not yet been determined. He said authorities also had not confirmed where the plane was going, or who owned it.
He said witnesses have told investigators the plane failed to gain much altitude before it crashed onto its left side.
City of Eden Prairie spokeswoman Joyce Lorentz said the plane was trying to take off between 11:30 a.m. and noon Wednesday when it "started wobbling back and forth and went down" in the yard of a historic home owned by the city. The plane did not touch the house, but a piece did land on the porch.
Andrew Osowski, 14, of Eden Prairie, said he was working with about 20 children from a day-care in a park down the road from the airport when he saw a plane coming up at an angle around 11:30 a.m.
"It just started teeter-tottering," Andrew said, adding that smoke started coming from the right engine. "It turned, it just went down at an angle. And we just heard 'boom!'"
"It was scary. I saw black smoke, and once you see black smoke, that's something that's very bad," Osowski said.
The plane crashed near the Cummins-Grill house, an old farmstead built in the late 1800s that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. People in orange vests walked around the wreckage stuck on the ground between two trees.
No one was inside the house, which is used only at Christmas, said Katie Beal, an Eden Prairie spokeswoman.
Pioneer Trail, which runs near the airport, is closed to traffic this afternoon from the cross streets of Staring Lake Parkway to Flying Cloud Drive. The road will be closed through rush hour.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.