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10 die in midair plane collision over N.J.

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BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Ten people were killed Wednesday in a collision of two small planes over southern New Jersey, a federal official said.

Falling wreckage crashed into a house and set the building on fire.

Eight of those killed were aboard a Piper Navajo that took off from Lakehurst Naval Air Station, said Arlene Salac, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Two people died on the second plane, a Piper Seminole from Northeast Philadelphia Airport, she said. That plane included a flight instructor and a student, Salac said.

Resident Antoinette Carnivale said she saw the planes collide.

"I saw smoke and flames and pieces coming down," she said.

Mary Miles, who lives in the same development as the house that was hit, heard the crash but didn't realize what it was.

"I thought it was thunder, and then I turned on the television and saw it was actually a plane crash," she said.

The couple who lived in the house that was struck escaped unharmed.

There was no immediate word if anyone on the ground was injured.

Fire extensively damaged the two-story, brick-front house in a suburban development about 10 miles south of Trenton.

Homeowner Ed Trzaskawka said he was getting ready for work when the plane hit the area of his garage.

"Another few feet and it would have been in my ear," Trzaskawka said. He said he and his wife Cathy ran out the back of the house.

"I grabbed the dog," Trzaskawka said.

An airplane tail section landed in a field several hundred yards form homes and what appeared to be a piece of a wing fell on the roof of a home.

The Piper Navajo was registered to Tigress Aviation, Inc. of California, Md., according to FAA spokesman John Clabes. FAA records show no accidents or incidents involving that plane, Clabes said.

"It's a very popular airplane," Clabes said.

Two small twin-engine planes collided in midair over a New Jersey suburb Wednesday, killing three people and sending one of the aircraft crashing into a home, federal authorities said.

The mishap occurred shortly after 8 a.m. EDT in Burlington Township, which lies along the Delaware River about midway between Trenton and Philadelphia.

There was no immediate word on the flights' origins or destinations.

But the FAA confirmed that the two planes had collided, and said the three people killed were all believed to be from the aircraft. Burlington Township police said a married couple in the home was not injured.

"We don't have any reported fatalities on the ground. That would mean these would have to be from the aircraft. We just don't know yet from which aircraft," said FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac.

One of the planes was a Piper Navajo PA-31 registered to Tygress Air Inc. of California, Maryland, the FAA said. The second plane was believed to be a Piper Seminole PA-44 but its registration was not immediately known.

News footage broadcast on local television showed firefighters dousing a large upscale suburban home with a shattered and charred roof, while the crumpled white fuselage of a small plane lay in a nearby field.

The FAA said investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to the site from a regional office in Parsippany, New Jersey.