Coroner: 3 dead in plane crash in LA County

AP News
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Posted: Oct 22, 2010 4:21 AM
Coroner: 3 dead in plane crash in LA County

A small plane crashed and burst into flames Thursday in a horse corral in northern Los Angeles County, killing three people and three horses, a county coroner's investigator said.

The single-engine Cirrus SR22 went down at about 12:10 p.m. behind a barn in Agua Dulce, county fire Inspector Matt Levesque said. The plane caught fire but was quickly doused, he said.

The plane had departed from Van Nuys Airport and was headed to Parker, Ariz., when it went down, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The crash site was about a mile west of the Agua Dulce Airpark.

Coroner's investigator McCracken, who declined to give her first name, confirmed the third death late Thursday.

Fire Inspector Don Kunitomi earlier said two people were confirmed dead but it was not known if anyone else was aboard due to the state of the wreck. Fire officials initially reported four people dead. The Cirrus SR22 can carry up to four people.

Three horses in the corral were killed and a fourth was injured, Levesque said.

Neighbor Scott Strickland told KCAL-TV he was inside his house when he heard a big explosion, then ran to the crash site.

"The two horses are on fire and I just see smoke everywhere," Strickland said. "I saw somebody yell `grab a gun.' Somebody grabbed a gun, came over and put the horse out of his misery 'cause he was just on fire, you couldn't do much after that," he said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation. The skies were overcast at the time of the crash, Gregor said.

The plane was registered to a Calabasas company, Gregor said. He would not provide the name until the FAA confirms the owners were notified.

The high-desert area about 30 miles north of Los Angeles is flanked by forest and the urban communities of Santa Clarita and Palmdale. It is near Vasquez Rocks, a local rock formation often used as a filming location for movies and TV shows.