Federal investigators said Tuesday they were interviewing three certified flight instructors aboard a plane involved in a mid-air collision with another plane over Ventura County to learn more about what caused the accident.
Howard Plagens, a safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said the flight instructors, who he did not identify, were aboard the plane that landed Monday on the Westlake Golf Course and were being interviewed at a local hospital.
Information from those interviews as well as an examination of the two crash scenes, flight data such as altitude and speed, and prevailing conditions, including the field of view of the pilots, would help them provide a preliminary cause for the mishap by early next week.
Both single-engine Cessna 172s, took off from Santa Monica Airport approximately 10 minutes apart. The planes, one eastbound and the other westbound, collided at 2:01 p.m. Monday. The plane that ended up crashing into a rugged mountainside near Calabasas was en route to Camarillo Airport. Its pilot and a passenger were killed.
Plagens, who spoke to reporters Tuesday morning near the crash site, did not elaborate on the nature of the collision or possible damage that resulted. Radar information indicated the two planes collided about eight miles east-northeast of Ventura about 2 p.m., FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said in a statement.
The Cessna that ended up in the middle of the third fairway at Westlake Village Golf Course went down immediately after the collision, Plagens said. The hard landing resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to the three people on board.
The other aircraft hit the mountainside at what appeared to be a steep angle, a short time later, Plagens said, killing both aboard.