updated 5/11/2007 7:32:03 PM ET 2007-05-11T23:32:03

Two small aircraft collided Friday over suburban Cincinnati, raining debris onto roads and backyards and killing three people on board, federal investigators said.

The accident evidently involved two airplanes, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a recorded message. The agency initially said one of the aircraft might have been a helicopter.

Witnesses gave conflicting accounts of the types of aircraft involved.

The FAA had no information about the pilots' flight plans or why the aircraft were so close together. The pilots were responsible for maintaining a safe distance on a clear, sunny afternoon. Blue Ash Airport, a runway used by small planes, is several miles away.

The planes' pilots were not required to file flight plans and apparently were not in contact with air traffic controllers, the FAA said.

No injuries were reported on the ground. The collision occurred over a residential area with several well-traveled highways that were closed temporarily while investigators looked for debris.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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