Single-engine plane makes fiery, crash landing into Gilbert home

A plane crashed directly into a home near Gilbert and Ray Roads, but miraculously, everyone involved made it out alive.

Take a look at what's left of the Cessna 182 after the crash.

"You could hear the engine.. that's how close to the ground it was," said Abdul Khan. "It went flat for a little bit and then started nose diving. It was so close, we thought it was going to come to our house, so when it came down, it made a big noise.. so I took my truck and I tried to come over here and I see the house was already on fire.

The aircraft had four skydivers and a pilot on board. It was part of Gilbert's annual Constitution Fair.

Gary Hildebrandt of the Gilbert Fire Department believes the four skydivers had already parachuted out when the pilot noticed problems with the plane and knew he had limited time to get out.

"Just identified that his wing was on fire and he was having aircraft issues and that was the last communication before impact," he said. "It's my understanding that the pilot parachuted just before impact and landed just about a half mile to the east of us."

The small aircraft was left unmanned and crashed into the home where two people were watching television inside.

"Landed toward the rear of the house and fell forward so part of the plane is in the house and part of it is in the backyard," said Abdul Khan.

Hildebrandt says the homeowners ran out of the house before it caught fire.

"They're doing good, obviously shaken up, but they're doing well," he said.

Neighbors say the crash sounded like loud fireworks and they felt the vibration once the plane hit the home.

"Very scary for all of us in the neighborhood," said Frank Simental.

"You can replace everything, but you can't replace life.. thank God nobody got hurt. That's the main important thing," said Khan.

Gilbert Fire and Police were at the scene throughout the day talking to neighbors and going through the home. An NTSB investigator is going through the wreckage, trying to figure out the exact cause of the crash.

The pilot's name has not been released. He was taken to an area hospital for some burns to his upper body, but is in stable condition.

The home is a total loss, but both people who were inside are okay. The house next door sustained minimal smoke damage.


The skydivers were actually part of the Arizona Skyhawks. Luckily, they all made it to the ground safely.

On Sunday, we heard from the event organizer of Constitution Week USA where the group landed.

Barbara Stowell says after the four Skyhawk divers landed at Gilbert Civic Center -- at that point, they were the only ones aware of trouble on their plane, but shortly after at about 7:20 p.m., word began to spread.

"We did get feedback.... everybody stood and we did have a moment of silence."

Stowell says she's grateful that only property was damaged and that there was no loss of life.