Neighbors describe shock and confusion following plane crash - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Neighbors describe shock and confusion following plane crash

NTSB says debris could be spread over a wide area. (Source: WBRC) NTSB says debris could be spread over a wide area. (Source: WBRC)

The UPS plane that crashed Wednesday morning missed houses by a matter of several hundred yards, and witnesses said they initially thought bombs were exploding. Many people had no idea a plane had crashed until minutes later when emergency crews started arriving.

Sarah and Alton Norris were asleep in their Birmingham home when they said the windows in their house started shaking. "I don't know how many explosions there were, but I told him "let's get up, let's get our clothes on, let's get out of this house," said Sarah.

They walked outside and found many of their neighbors asking the same question: What just happened?

The Norris' house sits about two blocks away from the crash site. The couple said it isn't rare to see planes flying closely overhead, since they live just a half mile out from the airport. However, they never thought a plane would go down so close to home.

"I didn't know what it was," said witness Eddie Smith. "I heard a sonic boom that shook the whole house. 15 minutes later it shook again, and I looked out and could see the black smoke."

By noon, authorities blocked access to the neighborhood, allowing only local traffic as NTSB investigators combed through the wreckage. A Birmingham Police officer confirmed they had difficulty blocking off all the streets to the neighborhood because the wreckage site is so large, and they had limited numbers of officers and patrol cars.

Police are still staged in that neighborhood. The NTSB said some of the wreckage could still be in people's yards, on top of houses and scattered across a large area. Officials said they will be on-scene for several days as the investigation continues.

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