KINNELON, N.J. (AP) – Two small planes collided Saturday morning in New Jersey, killing both pilots and sending one aircraft plunging into the back yard of a home, authorities said.

An FAA spokeswoman had said a few hours after the morning crash that five people had been killed, but Luke Schiada of the National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday afternoon that the pilots were the only people in the planes. No one on the ground was injured, he said.

FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker said the erroneous report of five people killed had been relayed to the agency’s operations center from “various sources.”

A Piper PA-28 that had taken off from an airport in Lincoln Park collided with a Cessna 150 that had left an airport in Caldwell, Schiada said.

The planes crashed to the ground about a half mile apart in Kinnelon, about 20 miles northwest of Newark. The Piper broke apart in a wooded area and the Cessna – mostly intact – hit nose first, Schiada said.

The pilots were identified by county authorities as Eric Meyerwald, 40, of Bogota, N.J. and William P. Schott, 60, of Riverdale, N.Y., which is in the Bronx. The Cessna was registered to Myerwald and the Piper was registered to Schott, according to an FAA Web site.

The Cessna crashed in the wooded back yard of a home across the street from John Yago’s house.

“I walked over and all you could see when you look behind the house was the tail sticking straight up out of the ground,” Yago said.

Yago said his wife thought she heard a noise in their home’s kitchen, but he didn’t hear anything as he worked on his computer. When he saw police cars arrive on the street, he went outside to see what was going on.

Yago said his neighbor’s home was not damaged.

Schiada said the planes were being prepared to be moved to a local airport for an investigation.

AP-ES-08-07-04 2021EDT



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