METHUEN (CBS) — After a small plane crashed into a Methuen apartment building Tuesday afternoon, witnesses described a scene of horror as they saw the plane fall out of the sky–and panic on the ground as it slammed through the roof above their heads.
One witness, Keith Lontine, who lives less than a mile from the apartment building, told WBZ-TV he saw the aircraft plummet to the ground.
He told WBZ-TV he did not see flames coming from the plane before it crashed.
“I watched it fall out of the sky,” said Lontine. “I watched it take the nosedive, and it fell out of the sky.”
“There’s no way anybody survived that crash,” he added.
Pilot Al Lavender was killed in the crash, the WBZ-TV I-Team confirmed.
Roughly 25 people were inside the Pride’s Crossing condo building when the plane hit.
WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reported that all of the residents of the Pride’s Crossing condo complex got out of the building safely.
Charlene Porter said she heard a huge boom and felt her whole apartment shake as the plane came through the building.
“I’m in shock,” she said. “I can’t believe I made it out.”
One resident, Robert Nochnuk, told WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud he was sitting next to his girlfriend watching TV in a room next door to the unit the plane hit when they heard a loud boom.
“The whole building shook,” he said. “We looked out the back window there, and all I could see was insulation falling off the roof.”
He said he was thankful his neighbors weren’t home.
“I believe that the occupants are working, they’re not home,” Robert said. “I would imagine they would be seriously injured, possibly deceased.”
Resident Vera Kimball said she heard “A big and loud noise, nothing like I ever heard before.”
She said all of the smoke alarms in the building went off, and that when she went out behind the building, insulation was falling off of the roof.
“We just got out, we automatically got out,” she said. “We smelled smoke. You couldn’t stay in, because the noise from the smoke alarms. They all went off the 12 units. And then we came out, and they wouldn’t let us go back.”
She said the plane crashed into two bedrooms in units where nobody was home.
“My stomach is turning and turning,” she said. “I had my granddaughter with me, and that was even scarier, she was sleeping, it woke her up.”