A federal investigator says there was internal damage to the engine of a small plane that crashed into a Massachusetts home and burned, killing three people on board.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Doug Brazy said at a briefing Wednesday investigators found a hole in the engine's crankcase but don't know the cause. Brazy said the engine will be examined at its manufacturer's lab.

The pilot told air traffic controllers his engine was failing just before the crash in a Plainville neighborhood at about 5:45 p.m. Sunday.

Authorities have tentatively identified those killed as Dr. Joseph Richard Kalister of Knoxville, Tennessee; his wife Betty Kalister, and their teenage daughter Nicole, who had been scheduled to attend a new-student orientation at Northeastern University in Boston this week.

The four people who lived in the house escaped.  (Associated Press)