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Pilot Dead After Twin-Engine Plane Crashes, Bursts Into Flames At Fullerton Airport

FULLERTON (CBSLA) — A pilot was killed when a small, twin-engine plane crashed Thursday evening during takeoff at Fullerton Municipal Airport.

The six-seat Beechcraft Duke burst into flames during takeoff from Runway 24 at around 8 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane rolled to the left, flipped over and caught fire.

Pilot Dead After Twin-Engine Plane Crashes, Bursts Into Flames At Fullerton Airport
At the scene of a plane crash at Fullerton Municipal Airport. April 18, 2019. (CBS2)

Officials said the pilot, Utah man in his 50s, died at the scene. There were no passengers. No one was hurt on the ground.

Both Fullerton and Anaheim fire department crews responded to the location. Fullerton Fire Department Division Chief Kathy Schaefer said the plane was going at about 80 miles per hour and was 15 feet in the air when it veered left and crashed on the runway.

There was a lot of fuel on board, Schaefer said. The blaze was knocked down at 8:13 p.m.

The plane was headed for Heber City Airport, also known as Russ McDonald Field, in Heber City, Utah, located near Park City.

Witnesses told CBS2 they thought the crash was a small earthquake.

"It sounded like a little, very fast race car going by, but something didn't seem right, because then after that I heard a loud thump," witness Jovon Sigler told CBS2.

Another person she spoke to said the flames and large plume of black smoke could be seen miles away.

"My cousins and my aunt, they were yelling like, 'get out,' because they just saw this huge cloud of smoke," witness Alex Benitez said. "And they just started running out."

On April 11, a Cessna 172 flipped over while landing on the same Runway 24 at Fullerton Airport. There were two people aboard, but neither was hurt, the FAA reports.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate what caused Thursday's crash. NTSB investigations typically take about a year to fully complete.

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