Neighbors raced to save residents when plane crashed in California neighborhood, killing two

Written by on October 12, 2021


(SANTEE, Calif.) — When a small plane crashed in a California neighborhood, killing two and injuring at least two others, residents raced to save their neighbors from the intense fire and explosions.

The twin-engine Cessna C340 crashed at 12:14 p.m. local time Monday in Santee, near San Diego, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The plane first struck a UPS truck and then skidded into two homes, destroying them.

“It was like a bomb went off,” witness Andrew Pelloth told ABC News.

Neighbor Michael Keeley recalled rescuing a woman from her home.

“Her arms were burned, her hair was kind of singed. The fire was just getting bigger and bigger,” he told ABC News.

One of the two killed was a UPS worker, the company confirmed.

“That driver has been our neighborhood driver for years. Everybody knows him. He’s been a part of our community,” neighbor Allison Ray said, overcome with emotion.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our employee, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” UPS spokesman Steve Nagata said in a statement. “We also send our condolences for the other individuals who are involved in this incident, and their families and friends.”

The Yuma Regional Medical Center said local cardiologist Dr. Sugata Das was the other victim killed and that he owned the plane.

“As an outstanding cardiologist and dedicated family man Dr. Das leaves a lasting legacy,” chief medical officer Dr. Bharat Magu said in a statement. “We extend our prayers and support to his family, colleagues and friends during this difficult time.”

An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board is expected to be at the scene Tuesday morning.

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