COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A small plane crashed and burst into flames while trying to pick up an advertising banner at Compton/Woodley Airport in Compton Sunday afternoon, killing the pilot and severely injuring another person on the ground.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a single-engine Aviat A1 crashed at the airport in the 900 block of W. Alondra Boulevard shortly after 12:30 p.m.
Witnesses said the plane made several attempts at picking up the banner before something went wrong.
"You saw him stall with the airplane turned, flipped over, came in inverted. He hit the ground," said Michael Robinson, who was inside the terminal when the plane went down. Robinson and members of a ground crew ran to try and rescue the pilot.
"He was alive on impact, because as we were trying to push the airplane back over, you heard him say once or twice, 'Help me,' but it was very weak," Robinson said.
Dennis Lord with Los Angeles County Aviation Commission said the pilot did pick up the banner.
"For some reason, he turned loose of the banner. He was down at a very slow speed. The aircraft stalled and impacted the ground. Why is yet to be determined," Lord said.
The pilot was the only person on board. A person on the ground attempting to aid the pilot suffered non-life threatening burn injuries.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.