California; 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 today, Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Cory Martino said at a news conference. 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 414 A 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.
Aerial footage taken from news helicopters show plane parts, including side panels and a propeller, scattered on rooftops and driveways near the burned house. The main body of the twin-engine plane was found in the backyard of another home not far from the burned house. The fire spread to a SUV that was parked in the driveway.
Debris was scattered over four blocks, Simpson said.
Rain from a winter storm helped firefighters extinguish the house fire. They planned to search the burned house in case there were additional victims, Sanchez said.
The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.