A small passenger plane carrying five people crashed into a house shortly after takeoff north of Manila today and killed all those onboard and four people on the ground, officials said. The Piper-23 Apache plane took off from the airport in Plaridel town in Bulacan province then crash-landed Saturday for a still-unknown reason and smashed into a house, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman Eric Apolonio and police said. All five Filipinos on board the six-seat plane were killed, and the crash killed four people on the ground, Plaridel police chief Supt. Julio Lizardo said by phone. The crash ignited a fire in a house that was hit by the aircraft, he said. Two other people on the ground were injured by burning debris, Lizardo said. TV footage showed parts of the plane wreckage and the shattered walls of the house at the still-smoldering crash site. Rescuers were looking for at least 1 missing person in the rubble of the house. Apolonio said the aircraft, which was operated by Lite Air Express, was bound for northern Laoag city. All the aircraft operated by the transport and courier company were grounded while investigators tried to determine the cause of the crash, he said.
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