DENVER (AP) _ Two small planes collided and crashed into homes in northwest Denver on Friday, killing three people in the aircraft and injuring six on the ground.

Fire chief Roderick A. Juniel confirmed the fatalities and said crews were still searching for other possible victims.

Authorities said people had been trapped in the wreckage of a twin-engine plane, but it was not immediately clear if they were the victims who died.

The other plane, a single-engine aircraft, exploded either in the air or when it hit two houses. ``That plane blew up. It disintegrated,'' police spokeswoman Virginia Lopez said.

Six people on the ground, including a 2-year-old, suffered minor injuries from flying debris, said Bev Lilly of St. Anthony Central Hospital. They were in good condition.

The Federal Aviation Administration identified the planes as a twin-engine Piper Cheyenne II and a Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

The tail of one plane was resting on a sidewalk about two blocks from one of the crash sites.

The collision occurred just after dusk over an older northwest Denver neighborhood, about one-half mile northwest of Invesco Field at Mile High.

Ed Mascarenas, 36, was driving through an alley when heard a loud noise, looked up and saw a plane spinning toward the ground. He said it crashed between a house and a garage.

Mascarenas said he ran to the wreckage and tried to pull open the door but failed. ``Nobody got out. I tried to get in there. I could hear someone,'' he said.

He said there was fuel spilling from the plane.

Maureen Ulevich, who was walking her dog, heard a loud bang and looked up to see a plane.

``It looked to me like the left wing had fire and smoke. It was sort of spiraling down toward the ground, not nose down but sort of flat,'' she said. ``It looked as if there was fire in the engine.''

Chuck Bolden told KUSA-TV he looked out the window of his home, saw a flash of silver and gray and ran outside. ``Literally, there was a chunk of airplane two houses away,'' he said.

Television news helicopters from several Denver stations aired dramatic footage of rescue efforts and scenes of both crash sites, which were about half a dozen blocks apart.