Fullerton plane crash: Pilot killed in fiery small-plane crash at Fullerton Airport

Friday, April 19, 2019
Pilot killed in fiery small-plane crash at Fullerton Airport
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The pilot was killed in a fiery crash of a small plane Thursday at the Fullerton airport.

FULLERTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A pilot was killed when a small plane crashed and burst into flames upon departing a runway at Fullerton Municipal Airport Thursday night, authorities said.

The crash was reported at approximately 7:50 p.m. as firefighters were on scene extinguishing the flames. The fire was extinguished shortly after, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration says only one person, the pilot, was on board the plane.

Fire department officials say the pilot of the plane, a man in his 50s, was killed in the crash.

Witnesses say the pilot was traveling around 80 miles per hour.

The plane veered off to the left and nosedived straight into the ground, Kathy Schaefer, Division Chief of the Fullerton Fire Department said. The fuel load caused it to burst into flames upon impact, she added.

Witnesses watched as the plane hit the runway. Nearby residents say they all heard a huge explosion at the airport.

"My grandpa said he heard an engine failure," witness Jacob Francis said. "We all came out running over here, and there was people running out trying to put out the fire and do whatever they can."

The pilot had filed a flight plan from Fullerton to Heber City Municipal Airport in Heber, Utah, according to the FAA.

The plane was described as a six-seat twin-engine Beechcraft Duke. It crashed while departing from the airport's Runway 24. It was about 50 feet off the ground when it crashed.

No other injuries were reported.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will investigate the incident.