Plane Crashes Into Southern California Home, Killing 5
A small plane crashed into a Southern California home on Sunday, killing five people, injuring two others and spraying debris across several residential blocks that temporarily became a site of chaos.
The crash, which occurred around 2 p.m., killed four people inside the Yorba Linda home — two men and two women — as well as the plane’s male pilot, Lt. Cory Martino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said at a news conference on Sunday. Officials said the pilot had been the only person on the aircraft; the relationship between the four people inside the home was not clear.
An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, Eliott Simpson, said the plane left Fullerton Airport at 1:35 p.m. It traveled about 10 miles and had climbed to about 7,800 feet, he said, before making a “rapid descent” into Yorba Linda, a sleepy suburban city 10 miles northeast of Disneyland.
On Monday, the authorities identified the pilot as Antonio Pastini, 75, of Gardnerville, Nev. — a retired Chicago police officer. They did not release the names of the four other people who were killed or disclose the exact cause of their deaths.
Two other people were taken to a hospital Sunday with what the authorities described as “moderate injuries,” though they did not elaborate.
Video posted on Twitter by a man who said he lives near the site of the crash showed several-foot-high flames knifing through the roof of a home on a winding street. In the video, there are occasional explosive pops, and neighbors urge each other to “get away” from the burning residence.
The man, Joshua Nelson, later posted a photo of what appeared to be wreckage from a plane strewn across a neighbor’s driveway and lawn.
“The plane blew up in the sky,” Jared Bocachica, who witnessed the crash, told the local news station KTLA.
At the news conference, Mr. Simpson said debris from the plane, a 1981 Cessna, was scattered as far as four blocks from the crash site. Officials later said that more than a dozen homes had been littered with debris from the Cessna, adding that the fuselage ended up in someone’s yard.
Nancy Mehl, another nearby resident, told The Los Angeles Times she was in her kitchen when she heard what sounded like the high-pitched whine of a plane preparing for takeoff.
“And then it felt like a bomb went off through the front of the house,” Ms. Mehl told the newspaper, adding that pieces of the plane came rocketing through her home.
“One of the first things I did when I saw the damage was get on my knees and thank God,” Ms. Mehl told The Times. “Talk about being spared.”