Six dead after small plane crashes in California field, sparking brush fire

This is the second fatal plane crash near the airport since 4 July

Graig Graziosi,Peony Hirwani
Sunday 09 July 2023 06:24 BST
Related video: Five people killed in plane crash at South Carolina beach

Six people are dead after a small plane crashed in a field near the French Valley area of Riverside County, California.

A Cessna C550 business jet crashed near the French Valley Airport in Murrieta around 4.15am, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

It was traveling to California from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, according to aviation officials.

Police said the airplane was “fully engulfed in flames” when they reached the scene.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Office confirmed that all six occupants were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, according to ABC7.

The passengers and pilot who died were all adults, Elliott Simpson, an aviation investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said at a news briefing.

The privately-owned plane crashed 500ft from the runway of French Valley Airport in Riverside County, about 85 miles south of Los Angeles, after attempting an instrument landing as a marine layer weather phenomenon settled on the area, Mr Simpson said.

The crash sparked a small brushfire at the incident site, burning approximately an acre of land before members of CAL FIRE/the Riverside County Fire Department contained the flames.

Weather reports showed a dense fog was hanging in the region at the time of the accident.

An aerial video from local media showed burnt rubble in the shape of a small aircraft in a blackened part of a field across the road from the airfield.

This is the second fatal plane crash near the French Valley Airport in less than a week; on 4 July, another small plane crashed, killing the pilot.

Both crashes are under investigation by the NTSB and the FAA.

Mr Simpson said the NTSB will continue to investigate the crash, with more results expected within the next two weeks.

He did not release the names of those who died in the crash.

Additional reporting by agencies

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