Pilot killed in New Jersey crash was cardiologist heading to New York City lecture, officials say

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The pilot who was killed in a plane crash that set three houses ablaze in New Jersey on Tuesday was a cardiologist who was supposed to be giving a lecture in New York City, authorities said.

Officials confirmed that 74-year-old Dr. Michael Schloss was flying from Leesburg, Va., to Linden Airport in New Jersey, and was to deliver a lecture at New York-Presbyterian on Wednesday. But his small craft crashed into a home in the Colonia section of Woodbridge. No other passengers were on board at the time and no one on the ground was injured.

One home was destroyed, though, and two others were seriously damaged by spreading flames.

Woodbridge firefighters work to extinguish the scene of a plane crash in Colonia. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Woodbridge firefighters work to extinguish the scene of a plane crash in Colonia. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

NEW JERSEY SMALL PLANE CRASH LEAVES PILOT DEAD

“The pilot was communicating with air traffic control and was cleared for an approach into Linden Airport and the airplane subsequently lost radar contact,” The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said. “We have no information that there was a distress call made from the pilot.”

Schloss was a certified commercial pilot who obtained his license in November 2014, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration Airman Details Report obtained by Fox News.

NTSB crews continued “going through a painstaking process of getting the plane out” of the basement of the house that it hit, Woodbridge Township Mayor John McCormac said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“The plane is largely intact but there are pieces and of course with an accident like this every little piece matters,” he said.

Fire destroyed one home and damaged two others. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Fire destroyed one home and damaged two others. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

McCormac said that the crash occurred “right around the corner from a grammar school” and that a 6-year-old girl, fortunately in class at the time, escaped injury. She lived in the home most damaged by the crash.

McCormac announced that the community would be holding several fundraisers to help the affected households.

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The homeowners of the wrecked house, Teresa Pitera and Jurek Kmiotekhe, released a statement on Wednesday saying: “We want to extend our deepest thanks for all the support pouring in. We’re thankful that we were unharmed and that no one in the immediate neighborhood was injured. Our thought and prayers are with the pilot of the plane.”

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