Plane Crash Kills Sylmar Student Pilot

A Sylmar woman was killed when the private plane she was piloting crashed as she tried to make an emergency landing at California City Airport in Kern County, authorities said.

Theresia Ann Niesner, 51, had just taken off from the airport about 10 a.m. when she radioed the tower, reported mechanical trouble and began circling the airport to land, said Jaye Wilowski, California City Police Department dispatcher. The plane's wing struck the ground, and the craft crashed and exploded, she said.

Niesner had arrived from Van Nuys Airport, about 70 miles to the south, and was on a return flight when the plane crashed, Wilowski said. Niesner, a student pilot, was alone in the four-seat plane, authorities said.

Cause of the crash was under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, authorities said.

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