Crash of Private Plane Kills 2 in Santa Monica : Accident: The son of filmmaker Sidney Pollack is one of the fatalities. A third man aboard is critically injured after the aircraft dived and hit an apartment building carport.
Two men--one of them the son of filmmaker Sidney Pollack--were killed and a third man was critically injured when their single-engine plane crashed into the carport of a Santa Monica apartment building Friday morning and burst into flames.
No one in the two-story apartment complex about 1 1/2 miles west of Santa Monica Airport was injured, but two Santa Monica police officers who rescued the surviving passenger, and a resident who helped them, were treated for smoke inhalation.
Late Friday, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office identified those killed as Steven Pollack, 34--son of the director of such movies as “The Firm,” “Out of Africa” and “Tootsie"--and David Lyon, 35, of Westchester.
Pollack, a resident of Marin County, and his family had been in Los Angeles visiting relatives during the holiday weekend, sources said. Pollack and Lyon apparently were student pilots, police said.
The surviving passenger, Roy Belzer, 40, of Culver City, was identified as their flight instructor.
Taken initially to Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center, Belzer was transferred to the burn unit at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, where he was being treated for second- and third-degree burns over 30% of his body.
Officials said there was no immediate indication of why the crash occurred.
Witnesses said the plane--an Italian-built, low-wing Marchetti M260--apparently made a normal southwesterly takeoff from Santa Monica Airport about 10:45 a.m.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane circled over Santa Monica Pier for three to five minutes before diving, clipping power lines and trees before it slammed into the building in the 300 block of Bay Street.
“All of a sudden, I heard an impact,” said Lloyd Allen, 72, who was across the street chatting with a friend when the crash occurred. Allen said there was “a streak, a fire, and then screaming.”
Santa Monica Fire Capt. Mike McKean, among the first to reach the crash site, said someone yelled that people were trapped in the burning plane, which had come to rest in the building’s carport, wrapped around a pillar.
McKean said he helped Police Officers Michael Deluca and Clinton Muir and resident Leslie Rocklin pull Belzer from the plane before the flames forced them back. Deluca, Muir and Rocklin were treated for smoke inhalation and released.
The fire was extinguished quickly and damage to the building was minor, confined largely to the carport. The crash knocked out electricity to about 15 customers in the area for about two hours.
Officials said the accident will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.