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Single-Engine Plane Catches Fire After Crash Near Big Bear City Airport

BIG BEAR CITY (CBSLA) — A single-engine plane crashed and caught fire while trying to land Tuesday at Big Bear City Airport, authorities said.

"There was a horrible explosion," Cheryl Bennett, a Big Bear resident, said. "I ran to the door, saw all this dirt, because of the plane coming in, and the smoke."

A Piper PA-28 was trying to land at the Big Bear City Airport at about 1:30 p.m. when it crashed into a vacant lot in a residential area at the corner of Meadow Lane and Nana Avenue, and caught fire, Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Ian Gregor said. Two people were on board.

Authorities said bystanders pulled the pilot and passenger to safety. They were airlifted to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center trauma unit with moderate to serious injuries.

"The woman was screaming that she was on fire," Bennett said. "So I went into the corner where she was and the neighbor behind helped move the pilot away from the fire."

Bear Valley Electric crews responded to the scene of the crash to restore power for nearby residents. Power was restored in the late evening after crews were able to repair the fallen lines.

Airport crews were able to start removing the wreckage shortly before 8 p.m. The FAA and the NTSB are investigating.

Neighbors said it was windy immediately before the crash, but it was not immediately known if that was a contributing factor.

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