A plane carrying five people has hit a house in Tokyo, starting a fire in a densely populated neighborhood. The small aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from a nearby airport.
The pilot, one of the passengers and a women on the ground were killed when the propeller-powered plane crashed in the Japanese capital, officials said Sunday.
Three other men were released from the plane wreckage alive, and two women on the ground were reported injured. All of the injured have been hospitalized.
"Their condition is unknown," a Tokyo police spokesman told the AFP news agency.
The passengers in the plane might have been pilots in training, according to local media. The plane was bound for Izuoshima island, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of central Tokyo, for a training flight.
'Like a truck'
Footage from the scene showed the wreckage of the aircraft on top of a burnt-out house in Chofu district, 500 meters (450 yards) from the small airport. The crash also damaged the roofs of nearby buildings, with at least three houses and two cars set ablaze. Firefighters were battling the flames.
"I thought it was flying quite low and then I heard a bang," a local resident told the Japanese public broadcaster NHK.
"I heard a tremendous sound like a truck crashing into a house... When I looked outside from a window, fire was flaring up," another women said.
The Piper PA-46 plane is owned by Nippon Aerotech, and was not used for commercial travel. After the Sunday crash, Nippon Aerotech official apologized and told reporters that the cause of the accident was being investigated.
The same single-engine plane crashed into a field in October 2004, according to the Japanese transport ministry. Nobody was injured at the time, and the officials attributed the accident to an operational error.
dj/bk (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)