Two dead after aircraft smashes into therapy centre for autistic children
Several children and their teachers have had a lucky escape after a small plane crashed into a building containing a therapy centre for young people with autism.
The aircraft went through the roof of the building near the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport in Florida on Saturday afternoon, according to US media.
A fire broke out following the collision and two passengers travelling in the Cessna 355 were killed.
A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department, Battalion Chief Steven Gollan, told WPLG-TV that eight teachers and five children were in the building at the time of the crash.
One teacher suffered minor injuries as she led the children away from the building to safety. She was not taken to hospital.
Authorities have launched an investigation to establish the cause of the crash.
Therapy centre Positive Behaviour Supports Corporation said teachers protected the children as the roof collapsed.
Regional director Claudia Axelrod told CBS Miami the “front door was on fire and was blocked by the debris”, adding that the teachers stepped in as “the roof caved in on them”.
She said: “They acted like heroes. They sure did. We are very thankful… We are very blessed that everybody was able to go to safety.”
According to reports, the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was heading to Hilliard – a small town near Jacksonville, Florida.
The names of the two people killed in the crash have not yet been released.