Small Plane Crashes; At Least 2 Die : Accident: The private aircraft was heading for an airport in Lancaster when it spiraled into an open field. Craft was devastated upon impact.

TIMES STAFF WRITERS

At least two people were killed Sunday night when a private plane bound for a Lancaster airport crashed in an open field, authorities said.

There may have been as many as six victims, but the scene was "pretty mangled," according to a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, and authorities were only starting to sort through the wreckage Sunday night.

FAA officials said the plane, believed to be a twin-engine Cessna, was bound for Lancaster's Fox Field on the city's west side.

It crashed about six miles east of the airport in a largely undeveloped industrial area on the north side of the city, but only half a mile from a busy intersection.

Witnesses said the plane was headed west when they heard a high-pitched whine from the engines. The plane then spiraled straight down, spinning five or six times before crashing.

"The only thing we know now is that an airplane crashed in an open field," said Jerry Acosta, a regional duty officer with the Federal Aviation Administration in Lawndale.

Los Angeles County firefighters responded to the crash shortly before 8 p.m., Capt. Jack Ricci said, with the initial call resulting in the dispatch of 11 units. The response was then scaled back, however, because there was no fire from the crash, Ricci said.

"There was no fire and no salvageable bodies, it was just a great, big mess," Ricci said.

About an hour after the crash, deputies from the Sheriff's Department's Antelope Valley station blocked off the area with flares and set up a command post to oversee cleanup operations.

FAA investigators were expected to begin examining the crash site today, Acosta said.

Times correspondent Sharon Moeser contributed to this story.

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