Five killed after plane crashes into California residential home

Firefighters respond to the scene of a plane crash at a home in Yorba Linda, California. Picture: AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
Firefighters respond to the scene of a plane crash at a home in Yorba Linda, California. Picture: AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
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Five people died and two others were injured after a small plane came apart in the US, raining debris across a Southern California neighbourhood and igniting a house fire before landing in a backyard.

The male pilot, who was the only person in the twin-engine plane, and four people in the house in Yorba Linda, south-east Los Angeles, that caught fire died late on Sunday night GMT.

Orange County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Cory Martino said the deceased occupants of the home were two men and two women.

No other identifying information had been released as of last night.

The Cessna 414A took off from the Fullerton Municipal Airport about a dozen miles west of the blaze, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

A two-story house burst into flames after being struck by the main cabin and one engine of the plane, sending panicked neighbours into the streets.

The second engine dislodged and fell onto the street, creating a large hole in the asphalt, according to Eliott Simpson, an aviation accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

It was reported by the Los Angeles Times the pilot had flown frequently out of the Fullerton Municipal Airport.

Yorba Linda is situated about 35 miles south-east of Los Angeles, near the Anaheim Hills.

Resident John Wolbart, who lives a block away, said: “It was a boom. It sounded like something exploded. It shook our house.”

Mr Wolbart said he ran to the burning house and saw a woman come out with singed hair.

The wounded were taken to a hospital with burn injuries. A firefighter was also treated for a minor injury.

Clint Langford, who lives about a half-mile away, said he was in his living room when he heard a low rumbling.

“It’s the eerie, low rumbling sound that keeps getting lower and louder,” he said. “It was scary – and then all of a sudden, boom. It shook the house.”

Mr Langford looked out his front door and could see plane parts falling out of the sky in the distance.

Pat Rogers, who lives about a mile from the crash site, told the Orange County Register he saw the plane on fire and coming apart.

One witness told local media the people inside the house were hosting a Super Bowl party at the time of the crash.

Video posted on Twitter showed panicked residents running to the house as it became engulfed in flames and dark smoke.

One man doused a burning wing that landed on the street with a garden hose.

Aerial footage taken from news helicopters showed plane parts, including side panels and a propeller, scattered on rooftops and driveways near the burned house. The main body of the twin-engine plane was found in the backyard of another home not far from the burned house. The fire spread to a SUV that was parked in the driveway.

Witness Laurie Stockstill told CBS. “I look up. I see this huge piece, I don’t know what it was. You can just watch it in slow motion. Then I see a big cloud of smoke go up. Oh my God, it was just awful.”

Debris was scattered over four blocks, Mr Simpson said.

Rain from a winter storm helped firefighters extinguish the house fire.

Seventy-two firefighters attended the scene in total alongside local police.

They planned to search the burned house in case there were additional victims.

The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

Pokey Sanchez, an assistant chief with the Orange County Fire Department, said firefighters planned to sift through the badly burned in case there were additional victims from the crash.