No other injuries were reported in the crash, which occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. in 10000 block of North Sutter Avenue, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. The deceased pilot, the only person onboard the aircraft, was not immediately identified.
Firefighters responded to the scene and extinguished flames that engulfed several parked vehicles near a Whiteman Airport runway. The wreckage of the plane was nearly obliterated.
Initial reports that the aircraft had struck a house appeared to be unfounded.
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In a statement, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the crash happened as the single-engine Cessna 172 was approaching the airport's Runway 12.
The cause of the incident is under investigation by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.