People living in a Chicago suburb on Monday looked at scattered pieces of a small plane and wondered if the last act of the pilot before his death was to spare residents' lives by crash landing in an empty lot on a crowded street.
Three physicians died in the crash late Sunday in Palos Hills, officials said.
"It looks like (the pilot) aimed for the one vacant spot," said Barbara Janusz, who lives with her daughter's family in Palos Hills. "I'm sure he sacrificed his own life for everybody else's."
Palos Hills Deputy Police Chief James Boie had the same thought after surveying the scene. He said neighbors told authorities they heard a sputtering engine and the aircraft circling before it crashed—a maneuver that could suggest a desperate search to land a crippled aircraft.