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Two Killed In Santee Plane Crash

A light plane that had just taken off from Gillespie Field airport in El Cajon lost power and crashed into a nearby industrial yard, killing the pilot and lone passenger.

The single-engine, four-seat Cessna 182 Skylane went down at Cuyamaca Street and Prospect Avenue in Santee shortly before 7 a.m., San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said. No one on the ground was hurt.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Google Maps

The site of a small plane crash in Santee northwest of El Cajon's Gillespie Field is shown on this map.

Two dogs that were riding in the plane survived the impact and were taken to a veterinary hospital for treatment, Santee Fire Chief Richard Smith told news crews. One of the animals seemingly was uninjured, while the other suffered what appeared to be non-life-threatening trauma.

The Cessna was headed west when its engine apparently failed, Smith said. As the pilot seemingly made a futile attempt to return to the airport, the plane wheeled around, then descended precipitously and plunged into the industrial yard northwest of Gillespie Field.

Witness Zachary Hill told reporters that he and his sister saw the aircraft go down and rushed to help, but found that the front of the Cessna had been utterly "destroyed."

Though physically unharmed, a person who was in the storage yard when the plane crashed nearby was "shaken up" from what he saw, Smith said.

Crews with the Santee Fire Department and Heartland Fire & Rescue worked to contain a fuel spill near the wreckage.

Personnel from the Federal Aviation Administration were sent to the scene of the crash to document evidence. The government probe into what went wrong — like all official inquiries into airplane crashes in the country — will be handled by the National Transportation Safety Board.

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