Pilot killed in fiery plane crash at airport in Orange County

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FULLERTON, Calif. -- Officials said a pilot died after a plane crashed and exploded into flames at the Fullerton Municipal Airport upon takeoff on Thursday, KTLA reported.

The incident was first reported just after 7:50 p.m. at the airport, 4011 W Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton Police Department officials said.

Initial reports were that the twin-engine plane had become engulfed in fire, police said.

The Beechcraft Duke crashed during takeoff from Runway 24, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. "The aircraft rolled to the left and caught fire."

The pilot was believed to be the only person on board, Gregor said.

The lone occupant of the plane was pronounced dead, Fullerton Fire Department Division Chief Kathy Schaefer told KTLA. He was described as a man in his 60s.

The aircraft had jut been gassed up and was traveling about 15 feet above ground at about 80 mph when it suddenly veered hard to the left and plowed into the ground, Schaefer said.

Footage of the scene posted to social media showed intense flames rising up from the tarmac.

FAA records show the airplane was registered to a company based in Helena, Montana and had a valid flight status.

The plane was destined for Heber City Municipal Airport in Utah, Gregor said.

No further details were immediately available.

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