Plane crashes in Santee neighborhood, 2 confirmed dead

SANTEE (KUSI) – A twin piston Cessna 340 crashed in a residential neighborhood near Santana High School Monday, killing at least two people, including a UPS truck driver on the ground, injuring several other people and engulfing homes in flames.

The Cessna C340 went down at the intersection of Greencastle and Jeremy streets in Santee about 12:15 p.m. while en route from Yuma, Arizona, to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego, according to county officials and the Federal Aviation Administration.

It was unclear how many occupants were aboard the six-seat aircraft when it plunged to the ground. At least two people died at the scene of the crash, city officials reported.

In a statement to City News Service, UPS confirmed one of the dead was a UPS employee.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our employee, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” the statement said. “We also send our condolences for the other individuals who are involved in this incident, and their families and friends.

“We are cooperating with the responding authorities in their investigation, and we are respectfully deferring questions to the investigating authorities.”

It was unknown whether other victims had been on the plane or on the ground.

Aerial news footage showed a pair of homes gutted by fire at the crash site with the charred wreckage of a vehicle in the roadway in front of them. Initial reports suggested the plane may have struck a UPS delivery truck before plowing into the houses.

Reports from the scene indicated that part of the plane ended up in one of the heavily damaged homes, while the engine landed in another. The crash created a debris field that covered much of a city block, authorities said.

Administrators at Santana High School instituted a “secure campus” status as a precaution and deputies closed Jeremy Street and North Magnolia Avenue between Mast Boulevard and Second Street while emergency crews worked to extinguish the fires and mitigate other damage caused by the plane crash.

Officials shut off electrical service in the immediate area for safety reasons.

The school had returned to normal operations by mid-afternoon, with students being “released for lunch or dismissal, if they do not have any other classes today,” according to a campus advisory.

The Red Cross established an evacuation center at Cameron Family YMCA on Riverwalk Drive in Santee for residents forced from their homes due to the crash.

The pilot has been identified as Dr. Sugata Das, a cardiologist.

KUSI News obtained audio of the final radio transmission between Dr. Das and Air Traffic Control moments before the plane nosedived to the ground.

KUSI’s Hunter Sowards has all the details.

Ring video from Pancho Espinoza captured the moment the plane descended into the ground:

KUSI News spoke with a neighbor, Andrew Pollath, who described the scene directly after the plane hit the ground. Pollath did not see the plane coming down, but said he and many other neighbors rushed to the scene to help.

Viewers sent KUSI cell phone video of the house on fire shortly after the crash:

 

According to Flightaware.com, the plane took off in Yuma, AZ, and was heading towards Montgomery Field.

Santee Plane Crash Flight Aware

Plane route from flightaware.com

Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Traffic & Accidents