Helicopter crashes into house, killing 2 aboard

By: CNN
By: CNN

(CNN) -- A helicopter crashed through a house and came to rest in flames across the street early Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing the two people aboard but missing the home's five occupants, officials said.

The helicopter entered the roof in the back before exiting near the house's front door Sunday morning.

"It's an amazing miracle that no one was injured inside the home," the Kenosha Fire Department's Wesley Bernhardt said at a news conference.

A man and a woman aboard the helicopter were killed instantly, Bernhardt said. Their names were not released.

Two adults and three children were inside the two-story house when the helicopter crashed into the roof on the back side of the home, came out the front and stopped in a nearby yard, CNN affiliate WISN reported.

"My belief was that the center of the home is a main stairwell, and the bedrooms were on either side and the helicopter came right through the house between the bedrooms," Bernhardt said. Watch footage of the damaged house »

A cascade of white debris spilled out of the house's front door. The small roof that covered the front porch lay in the front yard, largely intact.

The burnt remains of the helicopter lay covered in a pool of white foam, which firefighters had used to extinguish the flames.

The skies were foggy when the crash happened, and no other aircraft were going out at the time, Bernhardt said.

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"For some reason, this one was up. We don't know why or if it had clearance to be up at the time," he said.

Information on the purpose of the flight wasn't available. The helicopter belonged to Midwest Aviation Services, which offers charter services and flight training, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Corey Reed, operations supervisor at the Kenosha airport, said no flight plan was filed with the airport, the Journal Sentinel reported. A flight plan is not required, though it is recommended as a safety measure, Reed told the newspaper.

Gary Stielow, who lives in the neighborhood, said he awoke at about 5 a.m. ET to hear the helicopter's engine. He said he realized the helicopter was in trouble.

"We have a couple of hospitals here, so we are used to flight-for-life helicopters coming in low which have woken us up before, so that was no surprise," Stielow said.

"But this time the engine didn't sound right, and then seconds later there was just a pretty loud bang," he said.

The helicopter's engine was on fire, he said, but not the house.

"You can clearly see there's a large hole in back of the roof and part of the house was blown out," Stielow said. "So you have to think right away it was a miracle that everybody [in the house] got out OK."

The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter was a Robinson-44.

It took minutes for the fire department to put the blaze out. Bernhardt said about 200 gallons of fuel spilled into the street and in the yard where the helicopter came to rest.

"Ten homes around the home were evacuated because of the fuel issues and other possible hazards," Bernhardt said.


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