AT LEAST one person is dead after a plane crashed into houses in South Dakota.

The aircraft smashed into residential buildings in Sioux Falls at 10pm GMT last night, killing the pilot, as cops search for more victims.

A single-engine plane crash-landed in the neighbourhood as residents were evacuated.

Emergency services cordoned off the streets as they cleared the wreckage.

Officials believe the person who died in Tuesday evening's crash was an occupant of the aircraft.

Sioux Falls Emergency Manager Regan Smith says two homes sustained exterior damage from the crash,and four homes were evacuated.

He said: "We're still investigating, and there may be more fatalities.

“We’re working this through the evening as far as continuing the search and seeing what’s going on in the neighborhood and making sure that everything is OK."

Smith says officials plan to continue working into the night.

The exact number of people in the plane and homes wasn't immediately clear.

Grace Chinn, who lives near an affected home, says the crash "shook our whole house."

Smith says a fire at the scene was extinguished within minutes.

He added that the crash had left a "large debris field".

Neighbour Grace Chinn said: "We felt it more than heard it. It shook our whole house."

Sioux Falls City Councillor Rick Kiley said: "This is a terrible tragedy anytime but to have it occur on Christmas just makes it even worse."