Five people died and two others were injured after a small plane apparently came apart, raining debris across a Southern California neighborhood and igniting a house fire before landing in a backyard, authorities said.
The male pilot, who was the only person in the twin-engine plane, and four people in the Yorba Linda house that caught fire died Sunday, Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Cory Martino said at a news conference Sunday night. He says the deceased occupants of the home were two males and two females. No other identifying information such as names or ages was immediately released.
The Cessna 414A took off from the Fullerton Municipal Airport about a dozen miles west of the blaze, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.
A two-story house burst into flames after being struck by the main cabin and one engine of the plane, sending panicked neighbors into the streets. The second engine dislodged and fell onto the street, creating a large hole in the asphalt, according to Eliott Simpson, an aviation accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.
“It was a boom. It sounded like something exploded. It shook our house,” said John Wolbart, who lives a block away.
He said he ran to the burning house and saw a woman come out with singed hair.
The wounded were taken to a hospital with burn injuries, said Pokey Sanchez, an assistant chief with the Orange County Fire Authority. A firefighter was also treated for a minor injury.
Clint Langford, who lives about a half-mile away, said he was in his living room when he heard a low rumbling.
“It’s the eerie, low rumbling sound that keeps getting lower and louder. It was scary,” he said. “And then all of a sudden boom. It shook the house.”
He looked out his front door and could see plane parts falling out the sky in the distance.
Rain from a winter storm helped firefighters extinguish the house fire. They planned to search the burned house in case there were additional victims.
The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
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