Five dead, two hospitalized after plane crashes into home in California

Posted at 11:32 PM, Feb 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 02:36:42-05

Five people were killed when a small airplane crashed into a single-family home near Anaheim, California, on Sunday, authorities said.

Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Cory Martino said Sunday night that the plane, a small Cessna, crashed into the home in Yorna Linda at about 1:45 p.m. shortly after takeoff. Martino serves as police chief in the city of Yorba Linda, about 10 miles northeast of Anaheim, under a contract with the county.

The pilot and four people in the home — described only as two males and two females — were killed, he said. Two other people inside were treated for what he described as “moderate” injuries.

No identities were made public Sunday night pending notification of relatives.

Elliot Simpson, an aviation accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, took off from nearby Fullerton at about 1:35 p.m. The plane climbed to about 7,800 feet and then “began a rapid descent,” he said.

Simpson said there was no report that the pilot made any distress calls before the crash.

IMAGE: Plane crash in Yorba Linda, California
Firefighters at the scene of a small plane crash that crashed in a residential area of Yorba Linda, California, on Sunday.Orange County Fire Authority

Images from the scene showed aircraft wreckage scattered across the ground and a home engulfed in flames. Simpson said debris was scattered over a four-block area.

Colette Craig of Anaheim was driving toward Corona on the 91 Freeway when she saw the plane — which she said was about three miles away — “burst into flames.”

Another witness, Brittany Drake, said she initially thought the “giant ball of fire” might be Super Bowl-related.

“But it was way too big,” said Drake, who was on the freeway en route to a family Super Bowl party.

The crash took only a few seconds, she said, but it was clear that something was very wrong with the plane.

“It went straight down,” she said. “It wasn’t continually trying to fly. It was very obvious the plane was gone.”

Residents in the suburban neighborhood where the aircraft fell to the ground described hearing a high-pitched whine — a sound that a neighbor, Lee Davis, thought belonged to a Ferrari or a Lamborghini screeching and crashing into his home.

“I thought it would actually be wrapped around my wall, because when I was getting up, I saw stuff landing in the pool,” he said. “But then when I came outside the door, my neighbor said, ‘Watch out — there’s still stuff coming from the sky.'”