The pilot of a single-engine plane flying to a small airport in San Bernardino County was killed when his aircraft crashed into a home shortly before it was scheduled to land Thursday morning.
The aircraft departed from Zamperini Field in Torrance and was flying for about 19 minutes before it crashed. It had been heading to Cable Airport, a small independently owned airport less than two miles from the neighborhood where the plane went down, according to flight records.
The plane is registered to a man in Palos Verdes Estates, according to public records. The body of the pilot, however, has not been removed from the wreckage, and he has not been identified.
The section of the home where the plane went down was engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived at the scene. The force of the crash caused a portion of the home’s roof to collapse. A man and his young son, who were inside the house at the time, were able to escape the flames, Upland Police Capt.
San Bernardino County firefighter and medic David Pingree said it was “incredibly lucky” for neighbors that the plane went down as it did. The aircraft is equipped with a parachute system that’s designed, in the event of an emergency, to lower the aircraft to the ground after it is deployed, according to the manufacturer. Video from the scene showed a large parachute draped over a palm tree near the home.
Neighbor Dan Millus, 65, was settling in to take a nap in his bedroom when he heard a massive boom outside.
“I went running outside and the house kitty-corner to the east of me was completely engulfed in flames, ”he said. “I’m looking at the house now, and I don’t see any remnants of a plane or anything. The fire was pretty intense. ”
One of Millus ’neighbors told him they saw the plane“ choke up ”and descend nose-down into the house. Millus said he often heard planes from his home because he’s so close to two airports, but he’s never been overly concerned about the possibility of a crash.
“Honestly, I’d never really given it much thought, ”he said. “About 10 years ago, we had a plane sputter and hit a garage in another part of the neighborhood, but that was 10 years ago. ”
Times staff writer Alejandra Reyes-Velarde contributed to this report.