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Witnesses Say Pilot Jumped Without Chute From Burning Plane That Crashed Near Livermore

LIVERMORE (CBS SF) -- The Federal Aviation Administration is now leading the investigation into a deadly plane crash near Interstate 580 in Livermore.

According to Federal Aviation Administration official Allen Kenitzer, the small aircraft, described as an experimental Loehle Mustang, crashed in a field about 2 to 3 miles northeast of Livermore shortly after departing from Livermore Municipal Airport.

The crash touched off a small brush fire that grew to about 1 1/2 acres before Alameda County firefighters contained it at 5:17 p.m. on Saturday.

Several witnesses spotted the pilot jumping from the aircraft without a parachute after the plane caught on fire after taking off from Livermore airport.

Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt J.D. Nelson told KPIX 5 the investigation is still in its early stages.

"There's a distinct possibility that flames were going into the cockpit area and he made the decision to jump out of the plane, or he could've been forced out of the plane. We don't know that," Nelson said.

Sgt. Nelson said the name of the pilot won't be released until the county coroner office completes its investigation.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report

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