SAN DIEGO -- A Del Mar physician was killed Wednesday when his private plane plunged into a Kearny Mesa construction site shortly after takeoff from Montgomery Field.
John Serocki, 61, was embarking a solitary flight to Arizona about 6:30 a.m. when his single-engine Cirrus SR22T rolled over in the air and went down in the 4400 block of Ruffin Road, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office and Federal Aviation Administration.
Serocki, an orthopedic surgeon with offices in University City, Chula Vista and Yuma, died at the scene of the crash about a half-mile northwest of the municipal general-aviation airport. Television news footage showed the downed aircraft crumpled in a fenced-in dirt lot, its front end demolished.
Nobody on the ground was injured, according to the San Diego Fire- Rescue Department.
It was not immediately clear what caused the accident, which occurred amid clear skies just after daybreak. At least one witness account suggested that the engine of the fixed-wing plane lost power or quit altogether just prior to the crash.
An aircraft-mounted parachute designed to allow for survivable descents in cases of power loss deployed during the crash but did not fully open, SDFRD Battalion Chief Grace Yamane told reporters. It was unclear if Serocki had tried to utilize the emergency system, or if it might have activated by itself upon impact, she said.
A congestion alert was issued for Ruffin Road between Balboa Avenue and Ridgehaven Court, where all lanes in both directions were closed for the crash investigation, which was being handled by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.
The deadly air accident was the second to occur in the county this month. A Feb. 6 plane crash in Santee near Gillespie Field killed 70-year-old Irvine medical school professor John Longhurt and his 71-year-old wife, Cherril.