Five people were killed when a small plane in which they were traveling crashed into a parking lot in Santa Ana near South Coast Plaza.
The accident occurred at 12:28 pm. A spokesman for the Santa Anna Police Department at 3,800 Block Bristol Street said, adding that no one was injured on the ground.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the twin-engine Cessna 414 declared an emergency before hitting a parking lot, a few meters from the Staples store.
With a dashcam, the driver took footage of the plane as it descended.
Witnesses said that the engine was cut off while it was moving towards the ground.
“Godson and I heard the noise, then I looked up, and it was really going down. Like, he lost control, and he was spinning, and the more he turned, the more he went down, and then we heard the bang”
All five on board were killed instantly. Fire officials confirmed that all of them were adults.
Family members recognized one of the victims: Naseem Ghandan, who was a realtor from the East Bay and was on his way to work. They said she was 29 years old.
Witnesses said they saw at least three men wounded at the crash site.
Witness Alex Perkins said, “There were two victims who were partially evacuated … so I checked the pulse in both of them. I have some experience with EMS, so there were two DOA’s.”
The plane hit at least one unmanned vehicle, whose owner was shopping elsewhere at the time.
“No one was injured on the ground, so I don’t know anything about what this pilot did or what he was thinking, but it could have been a lot more tragic. And we have people shopping, so the fact that there are no injuries in,” said Captain Tony Pomarito, a spokesman Orange County Fire Authority “Earth is a miracle in itself.”
Officials said the crash site was located north of the popular South Coast Plaza shopping center and a few blocks northwest of John Wayne Airport, which was the pilot’s destination.
The plane was registered to San Francisco-based third-party real estate firm and left Concord, according to an FAA database.
Bomaretto said the responding firefighters had not encountered the flames in the wreck.
Work crews were cleaning up the fuel spill on the site. Meanwhile, Bristol is closed between Sunflower Avenue and Callen’s Common.
The cause of the accident will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration.