New video shows moment plane plummets into UPS truck, killing driver and pilot
Harrowing new footage has emerged of the moment a small plane fell out of the sky in California on Monday and crashed into a UPS truck. The plane killed two people in the crash, including the driver of the van and the pilot, a San Diego-based cardiologist who worked in Yuma, Arizona. In the video, the six-seat twin-engine Cessna 340 can be seen diving into a quiet Santee, San Diego neighbourhood, before igniting into a blaze, and producing a plume of smoke.
Two other people in the neighbourhood near Santana High School were injured in the crash, including a woman whose hair and face were burned when her home caught on fire, before she was rescued through a window by her neighbours. Dr Sugata Das was flying the plane before the accident, and was reportedly warned he was flying too low by air traffic control. [embedded content]
"Low altitude alert, climb immediately, climb the airplane," the controller said to the pilot according to audio exchanges obtained by NBC. The plane was only around 10 miles from its destination; Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport. The controller instructed the pilot to climb to 5,000 feet. "You appear to be descending again, sir."
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash, and looking to determine how many people were aboard the aircraft. The crash was not survivable, any other passengers would have died on impact. The crash burned two homes, damaged a whole block and charred a number of vehicles at the scene, firefighters battled the blaze for hours to get it under control.
Power was turned off in several houses as a result of the accident.
"We are heartbroken by the loss of our employee and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends," said UPS in a statement. "We also send our condolences for the other individuals who are involved in this incident, and their families and friends."
Staff at the Yuma Regional Medical Center where Das worked were also deeply saddened by the news. "We are deeply sad to hear news of a plane owned by local cardiologist Dr Sugata Das which crashed near Santee," said Dr Bharat Magu, chief medical officer at the centre.