“Then there was a real short pause for about two seconds. Then there was a massive boom that shook my whole house,” Smith said.
Gerhardt said the wreckage could take up to three days to clear from the house, whose second story the plane had nearly shorn off before becoming embedded in the basement.
He said a third home was also affected.
The flight left Leesburg, Virginia, with only the pilot aboard, before 10 a.m., authorities said. The pilot was cleared to land at the Linden Airport, roughly 4 miles from the crash, but he suddenly lost contact with air traffic control, according to Gerhardt.
Gerhardt said the pilot was flying using instrument flight rules typically used by experienced pilots when flying with reduced visibility. The weather in the area was cloudy and misty at the time of the crash.
The air traffic control tower at nearby Newark Liberty International Airport was handling the pilot’s approach Tuesday, as it regularly does for approaches to Linden Airport under instrument flight rules, Linden Airport manager Paul Dudley said.