Police officers, another man injured in fiery plane crash in El Cajon

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EL CAJON, Calif. — A small plane crashed and burned in an El Cajon parking lot shortly after takeoff Sunday, sending the two police officers and another man who were aboard to a hospital.

The 70-year-old plane had just left Gillespie Field and was bound for John Wayne Airport in Orange County when the pilot reported engine trouble and attempted to turn back, said Mark Casey, a spokesman for Heartland Fire and Rescue.

The plane went down just before 10 a.m. near the intersection of Cuyamaca Street and Marshall Avenue, Casey said. That’s one block away from the airport.

Firefighters found that the crash site was actually in the parking lot of a business on nearby Gillespie Way, he said.

The plane struck a light pole and ended up against a fence between two buildings leaking fuel caught fire, and the wreckage became engulfed in flames, Casey said.

The three men, two of which are Huntington Beach police officers, were all able to escape, and were taken to the hospital, according to HBPD Lt. David Dereszynsky. They are expected to survive their injuries.

Casey said two Cox Cable Company vehicles were parked near the crash site and sustained damage.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident, he said.

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