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2 planes go down in Westlake Village, Calabasas; 1 dead

April 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A small plane went down in Westlake Village and another crashed in Calabasas on Monday afternoon, killing one person. Investigators say the incidents appear to be related.

Preliminary information from Allen Kenitzer with the Federal Aviation Administration indicated the incident was a midair airplane accident. Both planes were Cessna 172 aircrafts.

According to Kenitzer, the first plane was heading west at 3500 feet and the second had just left Santa Monica Airport for an engine test flight and was heading east at 3100 feet. FAA radar data showed the flights merged about 8 miles east northeast of Ventura at 2:01 p.m. The first plane landed on the Westlake Golf Course, and the second crashed in the rugged terrain of Calabasas, sparking a 1-acre fire.

The three passengers aboard the plane in Westlake Village had minor injuries. The FAA initially reported the plane hit a bird and landed on the golf course.

Witnesses say the plane came in from the west, made a hard landing on the golf course and spun around. The plane did not catch fire.

Los Angeles County Fire responded with two choppers, though only one of the passengers was airlifted. The other two passengers were taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

The plane is marked with an American Flyers decal, a flight training operation out of Santa Monica. American Flyers would not confirm to Eyewitness News if the plane belonged to their organization.

Around the same time of the incident in Westlake Village, plane wreckage was found in Calabasas at the site of a small brush fire at Mulholland Highway, west of Las Virgenes Road.

One fatality was confirmed in the crash. Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said it was a single occupant.

According to Capt. Tom Richards with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, a call was received shortly after 2 p.m. about a small brush fire in the canyon. Los Angeles County Fire aircraft spotted the wreckage, and a crew was dropped down to hike to the site. The plane was unidentifiable.

The FAA was on scene in Calabasas for an investigation. Richards said the NTSB wouldn't be there until Tuesday morning. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were also investigating the crash in Westlake Village.

Kenitzer said a basic preliminary report from the FAA is expected within a week or two, though it could be months before an official cause of the crash is known.


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