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Plane that crashed in Compton lost power

April 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Federal investigators said the small plane that crashed into three Compton homes had lost power as it approached the airport.Officials brought in a crane Monday and removed the wreckage from Saturday's crash.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)said the plane was "uncontrolled flight" when it crashed.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Leanne Suter's report from the scene of the plane crash.

Authorities identified the pilot as 71-year-old Charles Reese, who was returning from San Diego. Reese, his passenger and two people on the ground were injured, but all are expected to survive.

One victim on the ground was Compton resident Regina Hosley, 45, who said the force of the crash sent her flying through a wall in her house.

"I didn't hear anything. It was really quiet 'cuz the birds were chirping, and we were just talking about how good of a day it was 'cuz the birds were really chirping, and the next thing I know, it's one big catastrophe," Hosley said.

Hosley and her boyfriend were in the kitchen when the twin-engine Cessna 310 plane crashed nose first inside her house just before 4 p.m. in the 500 block of West Cypress Street, about a mile and a half from Compton Airport.

"I wonder how he even got out because the plane was sitting in my kitchen where I was at. It was unbelievable," said Hosley.

Crews pulled the planes wreckage from the Compton homes Monday afternoon.

"Based on the deformation to the structure, the compromise to the cockpit and the attitude of the aircraft at risk, this generally would not be a survivable accident," said NTSB spokesman Wayne Pollock.

Investigators say that Reese was approaching the Compton Airport when he experienced a sudden loss of engine power causing the right wing of the plane to hit one of the homes.

"At that point the aircrafts wing severed and it actually catapulted over the second residents into the third residents," said Pollock.

Friends say that the experienced pilot and passenger are members of a local flying club. They say that the pair was returning from a trip to San Diego when they ran into trouble.

Despite the devastating damage and injuries everyone involved is expected to make a full recovery. Eyewitness News reporter Lisa Hernandez contributed to this report.

 

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