2 Killed After Small Planes Collide Mid-Air

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — A second body has been found in the wreckage of one of two small planes that collided over the Santa Monica Mountains on Monday.

calabasas-planeIt was initially reported that only the pilot of one of the planes was killed.

But on Tuesday morning, L.A. County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore confirmed that two bodies were found in the wreckage of that plane.

According to Whitmore, the collision sent the plane plummeting directly into the side of the mountain.

The other aircraft, which had three people aboard, made an emergency landing at the Westlake Village Golf Course.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators were at the scene Tuesday trying to piece together what happened.

Both planes were Cessna single-engine aircraft which departed from Santa Monica Airport, according to preliminary information from the FAA.

The body of the pilot of the plane that crashed in the mountains was spotted Monday evening in rugged terrain near Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Road, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said.

Radar information indicated the two Cessna 172s collided about eight miles east northeast of Ventura about 2 p.m., FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in a statement.

The plane that left Santa Monica Airport was making an engine test flight and heading east when it collided with the other aircraft, according to the FAA.

The crash sparked a fire that was quickly knocked down after burning about an acre of dry brush, officials said.

plane-downThe other Cessna ended up in the middle of the third fairway at Westlake Village Golf Course.

The hard landing resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to the three people on board, L.A. County sheriff’s officials said.

County fire officials and witnesses said the landing gear was still up when the plane came down.

One of the people aboard complained of back pain and was taken to a hospital, according to authorities.

Golfer Aaron Jesse, 47, said the plane came in silently and hit the ground with a thud.

Jesse said the plane clipped a tree, which spun the aircraft around 180 degrees. Jesse marveled that the pilot seemed to land gently — taking out only four inches of grass and dirt.

“Finally being a bad golfer paid off,” Jesse said. “I hit it in the trees to the right. They landed 50 feet to the left of us in the center of the fairway.”

“All we heard was a thud and then he made a gentle bounce and slid down the center of the fairway, veering to the left.”

-KTLA/Los Angeles Times

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