UPLAND (CBSLA) – A pilot was killed but no one on the ground was hurt after a small plane careened into a home in Upland Thursday morning, sparking a fire in the process.
At around 11 a.m., a single-engine four-seat Cirrus SR22 slammed into a home in the area of Mountain Avenue and West 15th Street. San Bernardino County and Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department crews arrived on scene to find heavy flames.
Aerial footage over the scene showed a large portion of the home completely charred. The plane had a built-in safety parachute that was seen hanging over a nearby tree.
The pilot and sole occupant is presumed to have died in the wreck, the fire department confirmed in a news briefing.
“The only fatality we can confirm is the pilot of the airplane,” Upland police Capt. Marcelo Blanco said at a Thursday afternoon media briefing. “We can’t confirm the identity of the pilot because of how the wreckage is.”
A couple and their baby who were inside the home at the time of the crash safely escaped unhurt, San Bernardino County Fire spokesman David Pingree said.
Firefighters were also able to keep the flames from spreading to surrounding homes.
“So any time a plane goes down, obviously fuel is a concern…initial responding crews did an awesome job of controlling that, you can see there’s no extension into either structure on either side,” Pingree said.
The exact circumstances that lead up to the crash were not immediately known. Officials are unsure if the parachute fully deployed, Pingree disclosed.
“I heard a large scrape as if something was scraping against the cement, and then an immediate boom,” said Gerald, who shot cell phone video of the flames engulfing the home. “I ran into the backyard here where I’m staying with friends…it was flames over the top of the roof from across the street.”
The crash occurred less than a mile from the privately-owned Cable Airport. It was unclear if the plane took off from that airport before the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.
“This airplane does have a safety parachute, obviously that’s going to be still under investigation by NTSB, what transpired right before the plane came down on the house,” Blanco said.
One woman said it’s the third time she’s seen a plane go down in the nearly three decades she’s lived in the area.
“I’ve lived here 29 years and this is the third crash that’s been here,” she said. “I wasn’t home the other two times.”