updated 5/14/2004 1:06:16 PM ET 2004-05-14T17:06:16

A small plane crashed in a residential neighborhood just east of Baltimore-Washington International Airport Friday morning, killing the pilot, an airport spokesman said.

A search of the plane found only the pilot, and no one was injured on the ground, said Maj. Greg Shipley of the Maryland State Police.

Noting that the fuselage landed at the front door of a house, Shipley called it “nothing short of a miracle” that no one else was hurt.

Mike Doyle, 53, said the plane roared low over the neighborhood before it crashed about a block from his house, which is not in the usual flight path.

“He was probably 100 feet over the ground — so low it rattled the house,” said Doyle, who was getting his three children off to school when the plane went down.

The plane took off from Philadelphia and was headed to BWI when it crashed about 7:25 a.m., said airport spokeswoman Cheryl Stewart. She said it was an MU2 “high-wing” turboprop plane.

The plane crashed in front of a home less than a half-mile from the nearest runway.

Hours after the crash, firefighters continued to spray foam on the wreckage to prevent a fire, firefighter John Scholz said. The plane lay in pieces, with the wings sheared off and the fuselage broken into pieces strewn over the home’s driveway and yard.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were en route to the scene to begin an investigation.

The plane was one of 11 owned by Atlanta-based Epps Aviation that fly checks and other paperwork for banks in the Northeast, said owner and president Pat Epps. He said the pilot was in his 30s and was “very experienced,” but declined to identify him until his family was notified.

“This is the first pilot we’ve lost in these 20-plus years we’ve been running this part of the business,” Epps said.

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