At least 2 dead after plane crashes into residential neighborhood near San Diego
A twin-engine Cessna crashed in a residential neighborhood near San Diego on Monday afternoon, killing at least two people and setting multiple houses on fire, authorities said.
One of the victims was a UPS driver. The pilot, a cardiologist from Arizona, died as well.
Dr. Sugata Das also owned the plane that crashed shortly after noon on a residential corner in Santee, about 20 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, Yuma Regional Medical Center said.
"As an outstanding cardiologist and dedicated family man, Dr. Das leaves a lasting legacy," the hospital said in a statement.
UPS did not identify the driver, but said in a statement that the company was "heartbroken by the loss of our employee, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends."
Images from the scene showed a mangled UPS truck that was reportedly clipped by the aircraft's wing as it came down, according to NBC San Diego.
Santee Deputy Fire Chief Justin Matsushita said that two homes were decimated in the crash and multiple vehicles caught fire. The debris field stretched more than a block, he said, and power was cut to 10 homes while first responders combed through the wreckage.
Two people were injured and taken to local hospitals, Matsushita said. Video broadcast by NBC San Diego showed a neighbor entering a home engulfed in flames in an apparent effort to save a woman who was trapped inside.
NBC San Diego reported that the plane was returning to Yuma at the time of the crash. Additional details about who was on board weren't immediately available, though Matsushita said "that the injuries are non-survivable for anyone that was on that plane."
"Not to be too graphic, but it's a pretty brutal scene for our guys and we're trying to comb through it," Matsushita added.
According to records from the Federal Aviation Administration, Das was a certified commercial pilot. He obtained the certification in 2014.
The craft came down within blocks of Santana High School, but no one there was injured, the school said.
The crash scene is about four miles north of Gillespie Field, small county-owned airport in El Cajon, and 16 miles east of Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego.
A man who rushed to the neighborhood said he found the gutted home where his mother and stepfather live.
“It’s a war zone, it’s not even a house. Everything they own there” was destroyed, the man told NBC San Diego.