MONROE (WWJ) – Three people were killed Tuesday when a small, single-engine plane crashed nose-first into a city park in southern Michigan.

Witnesses tell authorities the Piper Malibu Mirage was heading south and skirted some trees before smashing into a soccer field at Munson Park in Monroe, about 35 miles southwest of Detroit and just north of the Ohio state line.

“When I turned around, the plane was super low to the ground, coming toward us,” said St. Mary Catholic Central High School senior Michelle DeMarco, 18, who was preparing for the first tennis match of the season on a nearby court.

“All of a sudden … it turned the other way, veered off,” she said. “After it turned, it went down and crashed. It exploded as it hit the ground.”

There were some people on or near the soccer field, but no one on the ground was reported injured, authorities said.

“It could have been worse,” Monroe Police Lt. Charlie Abel said.

plane crash monroe 3 29 11 ap photo Plane Crashes In City Park, 3 Dead

AP Photo

An emergency dispatcher told The Associated Press that reports of the crash began flooding in at 4:04 p.m. Munson Park is at the southeast corner of Monroe Custer Airport.

The plane reportedly took off from an airport in Bedford County, Pa., about 2:26 p.m. and was due to arrive at Custer Airport about 4 p.m., according to, an online tracking service.

The plane is registered to Monroe-based Triple F Aviation L.L.C.

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory, adding that the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the probe.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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