CHICAGO (AP) _ A Cessna plane ''sounded like a big bomb'' as it crashed and burned in a residential neighborhood shortly after takeoff, killing the pilot near Midway Airport, witnesses said.

''I was watching TV and the walls shook and everything,'' said Tom Wild, who lives in the neighborhood where the plane went down late Monday.

Another resident, Rick Venegan, said his entire family ran out of the house when they heard the explosion, which knocked stereo speakers off the wall.

The pilot was pronounced dead on arrival at Holy Cross Hospital, but authorities said the body had to be taken to the Cook County Morgue for identification. The identity was not released.

Mort Edelstein, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the pilot was the only person on board when the plane crashed about 10:30 p.m. on the city's Southwest Side.

''It sounded like a big bomb,'' Wild said.

The plane, apparently used for a courier flight, was carrying a load of Chicago-area newspapers.

''The pilot radioed the tower that he had lost one, which was indicative that he had lost an engine,'' Edelstein said. ''Those were the last words the air traffic controllers heard.''

The twin-engine Cessna, which could seat as many as six people, set several garages on fire when it crashed, Edelstein said, but no houses were damaged and no one on the ground was hurt.