VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — One person was killed after a small plane has crashed into the side of a building near Van Nuys Airport.
Desmond Shaw, an airborne traffic reporter for KNX NEWSRADIO and CBS2/KCAL9, says he witnessed the crash just after it took off at about 1:15 p.m. into a building at 16145 W. Hart Street, just a block away from the busy commuter airport.
“Before they could clear him to land, he turned really hard to the left and was sideways,” Shaw said. “He started losing altitude, and my pilot was like, ‘He’s going to crash. He’s going to crash’ … He just nosedived, slammed into an industrial building. It all happened in about 15 seconds.”
“Never in all my time in the skies have I actually watched a plane crash…rather shaken up up here. Sometimes we forget the risks we take,” Shaw tweeted.
Authorities confirmed one person was killed in the crash. The building was not structurally damaged and there were no other injuries.
“Basically, we heard a loud crash, but it didn’t sound like a plane crash. It sounded more like a car crash, and we started hearing people screaming, saying, ‘That way! That way,’ ” said Brenda Dykstra, a witness.
The plane was believed to be an Arion Lightning, a light-sport kit-type aircraft, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.
According to Gregor, the pilot was apparently performing “touch-and-go” practice maneuvers at Van Nuys Airport when the crash occurred.
Shaw described the plane as a lite sport aircraft and that the pilot complained of something banging around upon take-off, and that the tower said his landing gear was loose.
Just before impact, the pilot radioed in for help:
Pilot: “I have something banging around. Can you see what it is?”
Controller: “Your left main gear appears to be dangling. Uh, it appears to be broke.”
Pilot: “Great. What should I do?”
Controller: “Do you want to attempt landing here? Or it’s up to your uh … it’s your discretion.”
Pilot: “Uh, yeah. I’ll attempt landing here.”
Unknown: “I think that plane went down. I just saw it. I think that plane went down.”
The last time the pilot had filed a flight plan was back in Dec. of 2015, when he flew out of the Santa Monica Airport to Camarillo.
The pilot has not been identified. He was the only one on board.
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