Updated at 12:20 p.m. Feb. 21, 2018
A single-engine plane crashed in a dirt lot in Kearny Mesa Wednesday shortly after taking off from nearby Montgomery Field, killing the pilot.
The fixed-wing Cirrus SR22T went down about 6:30 a.m. in the 4400 block of Ruffin Road, about a half-mile northwest of the municipal airport, said Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Authority.
The sole occupant of the aircraft, who was not immediately identified, died at the scene of the crash, San Diego police Officer Tony Martinez said. Nobody on the ground was injured.
The pilot had intended to fly to Yuma, Arizona, officials said.
Online records show the plane was registered to a doctor in La Jolla.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. Skies were clear at the time, and the sun had just risen over the horizon. Television news footage showed the downed aircraft with most of its front end demolished.
An aircraft-mounted parachute designed to allow for survivable descents in cases of power loss deployed during the crash but did not fully open, San Diego fire Battalion Chief Grace Yamane told reporters. It was unclear if the pilot had tried to utilize the emergency system, or if it might have activated by itself upon impact, she said.
A congestion alert was issued for Ruffin Road between Balboa Avenue and Ridgehaven Court, where all lanes in both directions were closed for the crash investigation, which was being handled by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.
The deadly air accident was the second to occur in the county this month. A Feb. 6 plane crash in Santee near Gillespie Field killed 70-year-old Irvine medical school professor John Longhurt and his 71-year-old wife, Cherril.
— City News Service
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