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Plane crashes into neighborhood near El Cajon, no survivors found

Matthew Bowler
Police cars are parked in front of the scene where a plane crashed in El Cajon, Dec. 28, 2021.

Authorities confirmed Tuesday that the small airplane that crashed in a neighborhood near El Cajon was carrying four people and no survivors from the plane have been found.

The crash was reported at about 7:15 p.m. Monday near the 1200 block of Pepper Drive and North Mollison Avenue in the unincorporated Bostonia neighborhood.

The area is a few miles east of Gillespie Field airport, where the plane was scheduled to land.


Deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department's Santee and Lakeside stations immediately responded to the scene along with the Lakeside Fire Protection District, the California Highway Patrol and the El Cajon Police Department.

Kaden Long and his father were among the first people to see the destruction in their East County neighborhood. They took cell phone video and pictures as they processed what was happening in front of them. Long said, "it was like if you were too close to an airplane taking off or landing. It was really loud. The noise shook the whole house and turned off the power."

The flightpath to Gillespie Field leads pilots around two small mountains and through a short valley onto the runway. The path runs parallel to Pepper Drive which is the street where the planed crashed.

Resident Randy Begin lives in a house perched on the side of one of those small mountains. He was home with his daughter and grandchildren when they heard the terrifying sound and then saw the fireball. “I knew it was a plane. We knew it was a plane by the sound of it," said Begin, "there’s not a lot of things that can make a fireball that size.”

Image from iOS (70).jpg
Courtesy of Kaden Long
A fire burns from a plane that crashed in El Cajon, Dec. 27, 2021.

Another neighborhood resident caught the plane seconds before the fatal crash as it was recorded on his home NEST camera.

Plane crash December 27, 2021 on Pepper Drive El Cajon CA.

One home was damaged, but no injuries were reported on the ground, officials said.

The sheriff's department tweeted at 8:57 p.m. that the fire was out, and added that the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified and will be handling the investigation. The NTSB said the plane was a Learjet 35A business jet, which seats eight people.

RELATED: ‘You appear to be descending again sir,’ pilot told before deadly Santee crash

According to a spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft departed from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana with four people onboard.
The FAA and NTSB will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide all updates. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents. The San Diego County Medical Examiner will identify the victims.

Matthew Bowler
The debris from a plane crash is strewn across a street in El Cajon, Dec 28., 2021.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or has photos or videos from the scene was asked to email

Pepper Drive would remain closed between Topper Lane and North Second Street through Wednesday, officials said.

The crash took down an unknown amount of power lines. San Diego Gas & Electric reported that 350 customers in the El Cajon area were without power. Power was expected to be restored early this morning, according to the utility.

The American Red Cross would provide assistance today to residents who remain affected by the power outage, according to sheriff's officials.

Plane crashes into neighborhood near El Cajon, no survivors found

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