When you see the pictures, it is hard to believe nobody was seriously hurt when a small plane crashed into an apartment building near Dulles International Airport just after midnight Friday.
The veteran pilot from Vienna, Va., and his passenger - and the young family of four sleeping inside their third-floor apartment - all survived the terrifying crash.
There wasn't an explosion and fire because the plane's tank was empty.
Virginia State Police say the Cessna 177 was running low on fuel and experiencing electrical problems before its engine shut off. The two-seater, single engine aircraft was flying from Philadelphia to Manassas, Va., when it crashed into the roof of the three-story apartment building on Astoria Circle in Herndon.
"It's amazing that a thing like that could happen when you're asleep," says David Ventura, who lives in the apartment with his wife and two young children. "We could have died ... quick."
The plane ended up in the living room of Ventura's apartment. He says the first thing he saw was a strange man, the pilot, who was trying to make an emergency landing at Dulles, standing inside his apartment.
"All he said was 'Is everybody OK here?' I said, 'Yes,'" says Ventura.
State police identified the pilot as 61-year-old Kent Larson. He is a professional aerial photographer. He was injured, but not seriously. His lone passenger, Tache Alejandro, of Orlando, Fla., was treated at the scene for minor injuries.
"I'm just amazed and very thankful," says Larson's longtime neighbor Steve Sedgwick. "Kent is a quality person and he has been wonderful to our community."
Larson lives with his wife on Plum Street in Vienna. She told FOX 5 News she didn't want to talk about his ordeal.
Back in Herndon, Ventura told us his six-year-old son wasn't even awakened by the crash. His wife and two-year-old child were also in the apartment. She was not physically hurt, but taken to the hospital for stress.
About 20 people will need to find temporary shelter because of the damage to the building.
NTSB and FAA investigators began their work to learn precisely what caused the crash.
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