Four people were killed when a plane crashed and caught fire after taking off from Corona Municipal Airport on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
Around 12:10 p.m., the single-engine aircraft carrying four people was departing the airport, which is located at 1900 Aviation Drive, when it crashed at the end of the runway, according to John DeYoe of the Corona Fire Department.
The plane had a full 80-gallon fuel tank, which spilled and ignited a fire that spread to nearby brush, DeYoe said.
First responders arrived at the scene and found the small aircraft engulfed in flames on the airport’s east side, according to the Corona Police Department.
The blaze burned about a quarter-acre before firefighters knocked it down.
After extinguishing the flames, authorities discovered the plane’s four occupants dead; all were found to have “extensive” burn injuries, DeYoe said.
He did not have any information about the victims, including genders or ages. The coroner’s office has responded to the scene.
Local pilots told KTLA the plane had stopped at the airport to refuel.
It was not immediately known what caused the crash, but one witness told KTLA that issues were evident during takeoff.
The pilot “was trying to take off, and he’d take off about 2 or 3 feet off the ground and go down. And he did that three times,” Dorothe Voll said. “We did not hear him pull back power.”
At that point, Voll and her friend both yelled out that the plane was going to crash.
“We shouted because there were people in the hangars that had fire extinguishers,” she explained.
Voll saw the aircraft hit a fence and flip over before smoke started pouring out. People immediately ran over with the extinguishers to try and put out the flames before firefighters arrived minutes later.
The charred wreckage was visible in a brushy area just off an airport runway, Sky5 aerial video showed. Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, confirmed the plane was destroyed in the crash.
He said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
The airport has been temporarily closed to flights, according to police. It was unclear when normal operations will resume.
KTLA’s Nidia Becerra contributed to this story.
The airport is closed
3-4 occupants in the plane
Approximately 80 gallons of fuel
Extending into vegetation pic.twitter.com/rXMUHbz4K2
— Corona Fire Dept #CoronaFire (@CoronaFireDept) January 22, 2020