At Least 2 Killed in Private Plane Crash

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" and authorities were only starting to sort through the wreckage Sunday night, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy said.

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

The plane crashed about six miles east of the airport in a largely undeveloped industrial area. Witnesses heard a high-pitched whine from the engines and then the plane headed downward, 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. But the response was scaled back because there was no fire from the crash, Ricci said.

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

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

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