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5 dead after executive jet and single-engine Cessna collide near San Diego's Brown Field

Five people were killed Sunday in a midair collision of two small planes over Otay Mesa east of San Diego near the Mexican border, officials said.

The planes -- a twin-engine Sabreliner jet and a single-engine Cessna 172 – collided about two miles northeast of Brown Field Municipal Airport about 11 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

There were no survivors, officials said.

Both planes were attempting to land at Brown Field, the FAA said. The cause of the collision has not been determined.

Sabreliner jets are used by civilians for executive travel and by the military for training flights. The Sabreliner in the crash was leased to defense contractor BAE Systems and its employees were among the dead, officials said.

Wreckage from the crash was found in two locations about a quarter of a mile apart, according to Nick Schuler, division chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The planes broke into “multiple pieces,” Schuler said. A California Highway Patrol officer, the first law enforcement officer on scene, reported to a dispatcher, “Debris is scattered everywhere.”

Four of the dead were aboard the Sabreliner. The fifth was the Cessna pilot.

The wreckage caused a 2-acre brushfire near California 125 that was quickly extinguished. No structures were damaged or threatened.

Personnel from Cal Fire, the San Diego Fire & Rescue Department and the Chula Vista Fire Department responded to the scene. A Chula Vista firefighter was taken to the hospital with possible heat-related issues as the temperature soared above 100 degrees.

Brown Field, located 1.5 miles north of the Mexican border and 13 miles southeast of downtown San Diego, is a general aviation airport, heavily used by private, corporate, charter and government aircraft.

With its two runways, it is considered a “reliever” facility to reduce usage of Lindbergh Field, the region’s international airport shared by commercial airliners and private aircraft.

The crash will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

 tony.perry@latimes.com

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

Update

4:28 p.m.: This story was updated with new information about the victims. 

9:43 p.m.: This post has been updated to include details about a possible fifth victim and the fact that one of the planes may have been rented by a defense contractor.

This post was originally published at 1:05 p.m.

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