COLUMBUS, Ind. —
"He was losing altitude and I thought, 'He's going to crash,'" said Joe Andrew, who was washing his Corvette in his driveway when he noticed the plane.
Neighbor Marion Clavin told WTHR-TV that he heard two booms and went outside to investigate. He said he saw one person who had climbed out of the plane.
"He was bleeding and he was on fire. I told him, 'Roll on the grass, roll on the grass!'" Clavin said.
The man told him the pilot had already escaped the wreckage, Clavin said.
Retiree Larry Ruble, 63, lives across the street from the crash scene and said he knows the pilot, who he said he built the plane.
"He's a great guy. He built it himself and it's been up in the air a lot," Ruble said.
The Glastar GS-1 kit plane is registered to Clayton, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. A message left at Clayton's home was not immediately returned Thursday.
FAA records list Clayton as a private pilot since 2004 and as a repairman and builder of experimental aircraft.
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the aircraft was destroyed in the crash. He said the agency's investigation will take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a month to complete.
The Nakaos, who moved to the United States from Japan four years ago, said they planned to stay in a hotel or with friends Thursday.
Hiroko Nakao said she feels fortunate she escaped injury.
"It was my worst experience ever," she said.