VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two men are dead after a small plane crashed and erupted into flames at Van Nuys Airport Wednesday morning.
An Eyewitness News helicopter crew stationed at the airport witnessed the crash from about 150 feet away. Our cameraman who was on the tarmac also attempted to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
"I saw the aircraft make impact into the ground," said camera operator Marcel Melanson with Helinet Aviation.
"You just go and try to do something to help out. Obviously it was engulfed in flames. It was futile to help the people inside - at the same time you don't want it to spread or cause anything to get worse."
There is a fire station at the airport and firefighters were on scene quickly, using foam and water to extinguish the highly flammable aviation gas.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration registry, the single-engine aircraft was a CSA SportCruiser.
Airport police said the plane was registered at the Van Nuys facility. It wasn't immediately clear if the crash happened upon a departure or landing.
Witnesses described the plane heading nose-down into the ground before it crashed and burst into flames.
"They did very a very high impact, what was described as nose-first into the ground," Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott said. "Tragically that likely quickly caused the death of both of the occupants."
It's unclear what caused the crash.
Parts of the airport were shut down after the crash, but later reopened for general aviation.
Scott said this is the third crash this year at Van Nuys, but the previous two were not fatal. He added there has not been a fatality on airport property for at least 20 years.
The identities of the two men aboard the plane have not been released.