A twin-engine Cessna crashed in a residential neighborhood near San Diego on Monday afternoon, killing at least two people and torching several homes, authorities said.
One of the victims was a UPS driver. The pilot, an Arizona cardiologist, also died.
Dr Sugata Das also owned the plane that crashed shortly after noon in a residential area of Santee, about 20 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, Yuma Regional Medical Center said.
“As an exceptional cardiologist and dedicated family man, Dr Das is leaving a lasting legacy,” the hospital said in a statement.
UPS did not identify the driver, but said in a statement the company was “heartbroken at the loss of our employee and sent our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Footage from the scene showed a mutilated UPS truck that was allegedly cut by the plane’s wing as it descended, according to NBC San Diego.
Santee Deputy Fire Chief Justin Matsushita said two homes were decimated in the crash and several vehicles caught fire. The debris field stretched for more than a block, he said, and electricity was cut in 10 homes as first responders raked the wreckage.
Two people were injured and taken to local hospitals, Matsushita said. A video released by NBC San Diego showed a neighbor entering a burning house with the apparent aim of saving a woman who was trapped inside.
NBC San Diego reported that the plane was returning to Yuma at the time of the crash. Further details on who was on board were not immediately available, although Matsushita said “injuries cannot survive for anyone on this plane.”
“Not to be too graphic, but it’s a pretty brutal scene for our guys and we’re trying to comb it through,” Matsushita added.
According to Federal Aviation Administration records, Das was a certified commercial pilot. He obtained the certification in 2014.
The craft fell a few blocks from Santana High School, but no one was injured, the school said.
The scene of the crash is about four miles north of Gillespie Field, a small airport in El Cajon County, and 16 miles east of the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego.
A man who rushed to the neighborhood said he found the devastated house where his mother and stepfather live.
“It’s a war zone, it’s not even a house. Everything they own there has been destroyed, the man told NBC San Diego.