Police suspect two people were killed when a light aircraft crashed into a major railway line in Staffordshire.
The single engine propellor aircraft hit power lines above the West Coast Main Line between Rugeley and Stafford shortly before midday.
The accident caused severe disruption in the Midlands on the major rail route between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly. All services between Rugby and Stafford have been suspended, with replacement bus services provided.
A Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said: "There are potentially two fatalities from the aircraft, but until further investigations have been carried out and families informed, we cannot give any more information."
West Midlands Ambulance Service said paramedics were at the scene within three minutes but there was nothing they could do to help the occupants.
He said: "Crews found the wreckage of a plane between two railway tracks. It had struck the power lines for the railway. Sadly there was nothing that could be done and no-one was taken to hospital. It is not known how many people were aboard the single engine aircraft."
Neighbours nearby heard the crash just before noon today. Kath Wylie, 52, said she was sitting in her lounge when she heard a high-pitched whirring noise.
She said: "I didn't see it, but I heard this noise. Seconds later there was an almighty crash. The house shook. I shot up and shouted to my partner, 'There's been a train crash'."
She said she could see smoke billowing from the site, which is at the fork of two railway lines. She added: "All I could see was fire and smoke. There were people running over, members of the public, all on their phones calling the police."
Derek Higgott, 49, who lives in nearby Back Lane, witnessed the plane coming down. He said: "I was working in my garden. I heard the plane, I looked up, and suddenly it just turned and went straight down like a stunt plane.
"There was a huge thud and black smoke. You could feel the vibration from it and a huge flock of birds all took off."
Mr Higgott said he rushed to the scene with his neighbour, but neither could get very close, and he said they could not see much apart from the debris from the light aircraft.
Rail operators said all services between Rugby and Stafford had been suspended and delays could continue on Saturday.
Virgin Trains services between Euston and north-west England or Glasgow were severely disrupted. A spokesman said the entire West Coast Mainline would
remain shut around Stafford until about 2.30pm while overhead power lines were switched off. After this, Virgin services will be diverted via Birmingham and Wolverhampton, adding up to 40 minutes to journey times.
Virgin passengers can use their tickets to travel with other train operators today, or postpone their journeys until tomorrow, the spokesman said.
A Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said debris from the aircraft had fallen on the tracks and officers were at the scene.
A Network Rail spokesman said: "Emergency services are securing the site and Network Rail awaits clearance before repairs can be made. In the meantime services are not running between Rugby and Stafford. Where possible diversionary routes will be used.
"Passengers are advised to check with train operators to see how their services may be affected."
Rail operator London Midland, which runs trains from Birmingham to Liverpool and from Crewe to London's Euston station, suspended services around the affected area.
Replacement buses will run between Crewe and Rugby and between Wolverhampton and Crewe.
A London Midland spokesman said the diversions would remain in place for the rest of the day, and could have a knock-on effect into Saturday.
An instructor at the Microlight School, based in nearby Lichfield, said he was not aware of any incidents involving aircraft based there.