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3 men killed in crash were pilots

July 15, 2009 4:55:15 PM PDT
Three men who were killed in a small plane crash near Hawthorne Airport Wednesday were pilots.ABC7 HD was the first news helicopter to arrive on the scene where a single-engine plane went down near Crenshaw and Imperial Highway on the south side of the Hawthorne Airport at 4:24 p.m.

The Beechcraft Bonanza crashed into a parking lot behind a building.

On Wednesday night, National Transportation Safety Board inspectors were on the scene of the crash searching for the cause of the crash.

The NTSB says the three men who passed away in the crash were pilots participating in touch-and-go exercises out of the Hawthorne Airport.

The victim's bodies were removed from the scene before 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Although the cause of the crash has not yet been determined, witnesses said they had seen smoke coming out of the plane.

Relatives of the victims gathered near the crash site Wednesday night, telling about the loved ones they lost.

"He always tried to get me to fly with him, but I was too afraid," said Muzae Sesay, who believes his brother, Mustafa Sesay, died in the crash.

Muzae says Mustafa was an experienced pilot and flight instructor who had a passion for flying.

"It was his dream to fly and be a pilot," said Muzae.

Mustafa's father doesn't know who was piloting the plane before it went down.

"I just talked to him at about ... two o'clock," said Amid Sesay, Mustafa's father. "I just left him a message when I saw the crash."

Authorities say the plane crashed, nose first, into a parking lot at the Vought Aircraft Industries facility.

"The airplane came to a stop within the parking lot, not injuring any of the employees here at the plant," said Inspector Frank Garrido, Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Wreckage was found on a roof nearby, which may suggest the plane hit a building, but investigators are still unsure of what happened.

Officials have not released the names of the victims.

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