DETROIT (AP) — Authorities say two people have died and a third was injured when a small plane crashed in Detroit while heading to the city’s municipal airport.

Detroit police Capt. Mark Thornton told reporters the single-engine plane en route to Coleman A. Young International Airport apparently struck a power line and tree Sunday night. He says it burned in a vacant lot. Thornton says “courageous citizens” rescued the survivor.

Thornton says a man and a woman died while the survivor was in critical condition. No one on the ground was injured.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford says preliminary information indicates the pilot reported a landing gear problem and low fuel to air traffic controllers shortly before the crash. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

One of the “courageous citizens” appeared to be neighbor Larry Whitfield, 72, who told the Detroit Free Press that he came out of his home to find the plane one fire and people struggling to escape.

“The plane went right over my house. I was in the house and heard it hit,” he said.

“One guy, big guy, by a window couldn’t get out and he couldn’t breathe. I had a stick. Didn’t work, so another guy got an ax,” Whitfield said. He and the other man managed to break through the aircraft as people yelled at them to get away, fearing an explosion, enabling one passenger to escape.

The Free Press cited police officials as saying the two deceased victims of the crash were a 54-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman. A 17-year-old boy was taken to a Detroit hospital in critical condition.

© 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.           

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