SANTEE (CBSLA) — Two people were killed and two others were injured Monday when a small plane crashed into a UPS truck in a San Diego County neighborhood.
A twin-engine Cessna crashed around midday in the city of Santee, about 20 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.READ MORE: Man Suspected Of Stealing Truck Taken Into Custody Following Pursuit
Deputy Fire Chief Justin Matsushita said two people died at the scene and two are hospitalized in unknown condition. One of those that died was a UPS delivery driver who was beloved in the neighborhood.
Two homes caught fire and were destroyed along with the UPS driver’s truck. Ten other homes were damaged.
“A twin-engine Cessna C340 crashed in a residential area in San Diego, Ca., around 12:14 p.m. local time today. We do not yet know how many people were on board,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
“The FAA will release the tail number of the aircraft after investigators verify it at the accident site. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents,” the agency said.
The plane crashed three blocks from Santana High School. The school was temporarily a “Secure Campus” but said all students were secure.
We have been given the OK by @SDSOSantee to come out of "Secure Campus". We are now out of a "Secure Campus" Students are being released for lunch or dismissal, if they do not have any other classes today.
— Santana High School (@SantanaSultans) October 11, 2021
The plane was flying from Yuma, Arizona but was having trouble when it tried to stop at San Diego’s Gillespie Field Airport.
Witnesses described a terrifying scene that shook the quiet San Diego suburb.
Investigators said the plane struck the UPS truck, killing the driver. The flames from the crash then quickly spread to nearby homes when Good Samaritans jumped into action.READ MORE: LA City Inspectors Investigate SOLA Owned Building Near Downtown LA
“There were at least two or three heroes that got the couple out,” said a woman who saw neighbors helping a husband and wife get to safety.
“The wife’s hair was melted but she was able to stand up and get in the ambulance chair herself so at least it’s not as bad as it could have been,” she said.
The occupants of the other home that caught fire were said to have been at work when the fire erupted.
It was not immediately known how many people were on board the plane.
“We believe that the injuries are nonsurvivable for anyone that was on that plane,” Matsushita said.
On Monday evening, Yuma Regional Medical Center released a statement saying one of their local cardiologists was the pilot of the plane.
“We are deeply sad to hear news of a plane owned by local cardiologist Dr. Sugata Das which crashed near Santee,” said Dr. Bharat Magu, Chief Medical Officer at YRMC. “As an outstanding cardiologist and dedicated family man Dr. Das leaves a lasting legacy. We extend our prayers and support to his family, colleagues and friends during this difficult time.”
Fire investigators described the debris field as “brutal” and said it covers the entire block.MORE NEWS: LA Animal Hospital Alerts Public Of Overload In Emergency Vet Services
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.