Santi, Calif. – At least two people were killed and two others injured after a small plane crashed in a suburb of Southern California, setting two homes on fire, officials say.
Eyewitnesses said an elderly couple was being rescued from one of two houses that were destroyed in Santi, a largely residential suburb of 50,000 people. At least three other houses suffered significant damage.
Several vehicles, including a delivery truck, were also set ablaze. UPS confirmed the death of one of its employees.
“We are saddened by the loss of our employee and extend our deepest condolences to their family and friends,” the company said in a statement Monday to Granthshala television stations. “We also send our condolences to the other individuals involved in this incident and their families and friends.”
It was not immediately known whether the victims were on the ground or aboard the twin-engine Cessna, which went down around noon in suburban Santi, about 20 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.
City of Santi Deputy Fire Chief Justin Matsushita said two others were hospitalized under unknown circumstances.
“Not to be too graphic, but it’s a very brutal scene,” Matsushita said.
According to city officials, the accident occurred at the corner of Jeremy Street and Greencastle Street, located near Santana High School.
The school tweeted that the students were safe.
The school tweeted, “All students are safe. There was a plane crash 2 or 3 blocks away. We are currently on ‘Safe Campus’.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft was a two-engine Cessna C340. It was not immediately known where the flight originated or was leaving, or how many people were on board. According to Granthshala 5 San Diego, a San Diego County spokesman said its flight plan indicated it was traveling from Yuma, Arizona, to Montgomery Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa.
Jim Slough told NBC 7 Neighbors in San Diego pulled her mother out of the window of her burning home and rescued her stepfather from the backyard. His dog appears to have died.
Slough said neighbors told him the couple were “obviously shaken but are fine” and taken to UC San Diego Medical Center. “It’s a war zone. It’s not even a house,” Slough said after arriving at the scene.
Andrew Peloth, 30, was working from home when he heard a chirping sound and then a huge boom.
“My initial thought was that it was a meteorite coming down,” he said. “I could hear it falling and then some kind of explosion.”
Payloth saw a delivery truck engulfed in flames and engulfed his neighbor’s house directly across the street by fire. His neighbor was standing on the sidewalk pleading for help to get his dog that he said was inside the house. There were broken pieces of vehicles on the way.
Peloth said the woman and her husband’s arms were on fire, but they were still able to walk and talk.
There was no one in the second house of the house that was sold a month ago. Peloth said he met the new owner on Monday when he arrived to see the damage.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.
“This is a developing situation. We appreciate your patience and cooperation,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.