SANTEE, Calif. – At least two people including a UPS employee were killed, two homes were destroyed and a trail of destruction was left behind Monday when a small Cessna plane crashed in a Santee neighborhood.
The crash, which happened about 12:15 p.m. at the intersection of Jeremy and Greencastle streets, involved a twin-engine C340 Cessna, Santee Mayor John Minto said. According to the county, it was traveling from Yuma, Arizona to Montgomery Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa.
It is not yet known how many people were on the aircraft, but fire officials at the scene said injuries sustained would have been “nonsurvivable.”
“I want to extend my sympathies to those families and friends of those who tragically lost their lives,” Minto said in a video tweeted by the city. “On behalf of our City Council, we want you to know we are extending whatever support we can for those who were injured, lost homes or suffered property damage in this incident.”
As many as three other homes were damaged in the crash and officials said the crash left behind a debris field that spanned the length of the block.
In his video update, the mayor lauded “the great nature and caliber of people living in our community,” some of whom jumped into action to help their fellow neighbors in a time of tragedy.
One of those neighbors, Michael Keeley, was among a group of people who helped pull a woman from a home engulfed in flames. Keeley, a probation officer in San Diego County who heard the crash while he was working from home, remained with the woman as others worked to get her husband out of the house.
“She wanted her puppy and I was afraid if I went, she’d walk back and try to go get the puppy,” Keeley said. “By the time I got over here, the window was on fire. There was no way we’re going to go back. We got out at the right time.”
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the crash, which happened near Santana High School, impacted the school day with students and staff remaining there until classes were dismissed. As of about 6 p.m., Jeremy Street remained closed between 2nd Street and Mast Boulevard.
A temporary evacuation point was set up at the Cameron Family YMCA at 10123 Riverwalk Drive, deputies said.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.
Anyone with photos or videos of the crash was asked to contact the NTSB at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mental health resources also have been established by calling the county’s crisis line 24 hours a day at 888-724-7240.