5 dead after plane crashes into California mall parking lot

Ray Downs

Aug. 6 (UPI) -- A small plane crashed at a shopping center parking lot in Santa Ana, Calif. on Sunday, killing all five people on board, authorities said.

The pilot of the twin-engine Cessna declared an emergency shortly before it crashed into an unoccupied vehicle parked in the lot.


"Fortunately, that person was inside the store shopping at the time of the impact," Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito told reporters. "I don't know anything about what this pilot did or what he was thinking, but it could have been much more tragic."

The plane was about one mile from its destination, John Wayne Airport, before the crash.

Dashboard from a car in the area shows the plane as it nose-dived to the ground.

"Bodies were hanging from out the side of the plane," witness Jesse Perez told the Orange County Register. "I couldn't believe what was happening."

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

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