Authorities: 5 dead in midair collision of small planes

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two small planes collided midair while approaching an airport in southern San Diego County on Sunday, killing five people and sparking brush fires in a remote field where the wreckage landed, authorities said.

The collision occurred around 11 a.m. PDT about 2 miles northeast of Brown Field Municipal Airport, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

Both planes — a twin-engine Sabreliner jet and a single-engine Cessna 172 — were approaching Brown Field, Gregor said.

The Sabreliner carrying four people was registered to military contractor BAE Systems, which said in a statement that its employees were aboard the aircraft.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Andrew Swick told KNSD-TV the pilot of the Cessna was on a cross-country trip.

Both planes caught fire when they hit the ground and broke apart, said Nick Schuler, a division chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“It appears it was a very violent crash, as you can tell by both aircraft being in multiple pieces,” Schuler said.

The wreckage which was strewn across a wide area. The Sabreliner crashed on a grassy slope and the Cessna fell within the bounds of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

Crews extinguished several brush fires where the planes came down. One firefighter was taken to the hospital after he suffered a heat-related injury, Schuler said.

Brown Field, a former Naval auxiliary air station, is in the Otay Mesa area about 15 miles southeast of downtown San Diego, near the border with Mexico.

The FAA and NTSB were investigating the cause of the collision.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s