Updated at 6:05 p.m. Feb. 6, 2018
Two people and a dog were killed Tuesday when a light plane crashed into an industrial area adjacent to Gillespie Field shortly after taking off from the El Cajon airport.
The single-engine, four-seat Cessna 182 Skylane went down into a storage lot at Cuyamaca Street and Prospect Avenue in Santee shortly before 7 a.m., San Diego County sheriff‘s Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.
The pilot and a passenger died in the wreckage of the plane. Their names were withheld pending family notification.
No one on the ground was hurt.
A pair of dogs that had been riding in the plane survived the impact and were taken to an El Cajon veterinary hospital, where one of them succumbed to its injuries, said Dan DeSousa, director of the county Department of Animal Services. The other canine remained at the clinic in guarded condition in the late afternoon, he said.
The Cessna was headed west when it apparently lost power, Santee Fire Chief Richard Smith told news crews. As the pilot seemingly made a futile attempt to return to the airport, the plane wheeled around, then descended precipitously and plunged into the industrial yard northwest of Gillespie Field.
Witness Zachary Hill told reporters that he and his sister watched as the aircraft went down and rushed to help, but found that the front of the Cessna had been utterly “destroyed.”
Though physically unharmed, a person who was in the storage yard when the plane crashed nearby was “shaken up” from what he saw, Smith said.
Crews with the Santee Fire Department and Heartland Fire & Rescue worked to contain a fuel spill near the wreckage.
Personnel from the Federal Aviation Administration were sent to the scene of the crash to document evidence. The government probe into what went wrong — like all official inquiries into airplane crashes in the country — will be handled by the National Transportation Safety Board.
— City News Service
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