Two people were killed when a small plane crashed into a San Diego suburb. The UPS driver and the Arizona doctor were among them. Two others were also injured.
Neighbors recounted the dramatic rescue of a couple from their burning home in Santee, a suburb that is home to 50,000 people. Ten more homes were also damaged.
Numerous vehicles, including the UPS delivery vehicle, were also set on fire.
Justin Matsushita (Santee’s deputy chief fire chief), said, “Not to be too graphic but it’s quite brutal scene,” as firefighters searched the smoldering ruin.
United Parcel Service of America Inc. confirmed that one of its employees had died.
The company stated that they were “heartbroken” by the loss and extended their deepest condolences and sympathy to his family. “We also condolence to the families and friends of all those involved in this incident.”
Dr. Sugata das, Yuma Regional Medical Center’s chief physician, was also killed in the crash.
Dr. BharatMagu released a statement saying that Dr. Das, an outstanding cardiologist and dedicated father, leaves a lasting legacy. We extend our support and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time.
According to its website, Das was the director of Power of Love Foundation. This non-profit organization assists in aiding children and women affected or infected by HIV and AIDS.
According to the website, Das was the father of two sons and the owner of a Cessna 340 twin-engine Cessna 340. He also had an instrument-rated pilot rating who flew between Yuma and his home.
Although it was not clear how many people were on the plane, fire officials stated that none of them would have survived.
The couple’s condition was not immediately known.
When the plane was about to land at San Diego’s Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, it lost control and crashed into the ground. A few minutes earlier, the pilot was about half-mile away from the runway when an air traffic controller alerted him that the aircraft was too low.
In audio from KSWB-TV, the controller informs the pilot that “low altitude alert”, he advises him to climb immediately and climb the plane.
The controller keeps urging the plane to climb to 5,000ft, and when it remains at 1,500ft warns: “You seem to be descending again sir.”
KGTV, an ABC affiliate posted video it said it received from a viewer. It shows the plane arcing in space and then plummeting into the neighborhood in a burst.
A block away, residents reported that their houses were shaken by the loud crash. Michael Keeley (43), ran nakedly outside to see flames devouring the UPS truck, and the home around the corner. He called out through an open window to two of his neighbors who were also at the home on fire.
Another home was also destroyed. However, no one seemed to be at home.
Keeley reached out through the window to grasp the woman’s arm, helping her to climb out. There was thick smoke in the house and flames on the roof. He said that her forearms were charred and her hair was twisted.
Keeley, a probationary officer, said that she was glad she didn’t have bare feet to go in the house.
Other neighbors also came to the rescue of the husband by tearing down the fence.
Keeley stated that after the couple fled to the sidewalk, the woman begged for help for her dog, who was believed to have been inside the house.
He said, “She kept saying, “My puppy, my puppy,”
Moments later, the explosions occurred inside the house. They helped the couple to walk safely away until paramedics arrived.
Andrew Pelloth (30), lives next to the couple. He was working from home when he heard something.
He said that his initial thought was that it was a meteorite falling down. “I could hear it fall, then there was an explosion.”
Pelloth saw the UPS truck set ablaze outside. Pelloth grabbed a fire extinguisher, and then joined neighbors to pull the fence boards from the couple’s yard in order to save the husband.
Erik Huppert (57), who came down to help his home shake after it was damaged, claimed that he saw the man walk in the yard after the boards were removed.
Huppert, a military contractor, stated that both were in shock but were still alive.
Pelloth stated that no one was at home in the house that was damaged, which was only sold a month ago. As he arrived Monday to assess the damage, he met the new owner.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was a twin-engine Cessna C340.
According to Santee’s deputy chief fire chief, it was believed to have been a private plane flying from Yuma in California to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport.
Three blocks away from Santana High School was the crash. Santana High School tweeted that all students were safe.
The crash site can be found just north of Gillespie Field in San Diego County.
Investigations will be conducted by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.