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Plane Crashes Into Fla. Terminal; 3 Killed

April 17, 2006

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ A small plane crashed into a sport utility vehicle parked outside an airport Sunday, hurling it through a terminal wall, officials said. Three people in the plane were killed.

The twin-engine Beech B-60 also sparked a fire behind the airport’s commercial baggage claim area, filling the terminal with smoke, officials said.

About 100 to 150 people were inside the Gainesville Regional Airport terminal, but no injuries were reported on the ground, police said.

The plane took off from the north Florida airport and circled several times before attempting to land, but sent no distress call, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. The plane’s destination was not known.

Officials did not release the victim’s identities, but relatives told The Gainesville Sun they included a retired University of Florida engineering professor and his former student, who were testing a new autopilot system they had developed.

Pilot Guiseppe Basile, 69, Steve Varosi, 40, and Varosi’s 12-year-old nephew, Michael Varosi, died in the crash, relatives told the paper.

The terminal was evacuated and would remain closed until Monday, airport spokeswoman Michelle Danisovszky said. Commercial flights were suspended until Monday afternoon, although privately owned aircraft continued taking off and landing at the airport Sunday, she said.

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