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Plane crash kills 2 in Sand Canyon

Single-engine aircraft goes down; investigation under way

Posted: July 18, 2009 9:54 p.m.
Updated: July 19, 2009 8:55 a.m.

A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy examines evidence at the scene of a single-engine airplane crash Saturday. Both of the plane's occupants were killed on impact.

 
A single-engine airplane crashed in Sand Canyon just after noon on Saturday, killing its two occupants on impact.

"We got reports stating there was a circling aircraft that sounded like it ran out of gas," said Deputy Jeff Brito of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "The plane started circling and more or less nosedived into the pavement."

The plane crashed on Triumph Avenue east of Sand Canyon Road in an area of ranch-style homes on lots of 2 acres or more.

The plane broke into pieces but there was no fire, said Brito, who with Los Angeles County firefighters responded to the scene of the crash.

"I think as they were coming down, they were trying to make the best of it as they could," he said.

Although witnesses said the plane sounded like it ran out of fuel, it apparently had plenty; fuel flowed in a small stream down the road from the crash scene.

At 3 p.m. the shattered aircraft was still at the scene, the bodies of its occupants covered with plastic tarp. Deputies were awaiting an investigator from the Coroner's Office.

Triumph Avenue was blocked at Sultus Street and Warmuth Road.

Identities of the two victims were not released. The plane's origin and destination were not known.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the single-engine Lancair aircraft is registered to an Encino resident.

Officials won't release the plane's tail number until family members are notified.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

James Ivey, who lives just three houses away from the crash site on Triumph Avenue, believes he was the only person to actually see the crash.

Ivey said he initially went outside when he heard the plane because he thought it might have been his friend who flies a similar aircraft.

"I thought (it) was actually just doing a stunt," Ivey said, "but the plane stalled and tumbled and went into a flat spin and never recovered. It just fell straight down."

The crash was not that loud, he said.

"It didn't even sound like a small car hitting another small car," he said. "I went to see if anyone was alive. ... They clearly died on impact."

"It's upsetting to see that happen to people," Ivey added.

Gene Ruddell, 86, heard the crash and said he knew a plane had gone down.

"After it went over the house, I could hear the engine sputter, and quit then within a few more seconds," said Ruddell, who lives just north of the crash site.

"We went looking for it. I saw evidence that they (the occupants) were dead. I didn't want to look any closer."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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