WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (AP) — Two small airplanes with a combined four people aboard collided in midair over the Southern California mountains, sending one crashing into a rocky ridge and killing its pilot while the second was able to maneuver a belly-flop landing on the fairway of a nearby golf course, officials said.
Rescuers searched through the wreckage of the plane that crashed and sparked a fire in rocky terrain in Calabasas on Monday and found a body that was believed to be the only person aboard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Firefighters responding to a report of a small wildfire at about 2 p.m. spotted the aircraft debris, put out the fire and began a search for survivors, county fire Inspector Quvondo Johnson said. The plane had taken off from Santa Monica Airport in order to test its engine.
Three people on the plane that landed on a fairway while stunned golfers looked on had minor injuries. One was hospitalized after complaining of back pain.
Aaron Jesse, 47, said he had left work early for a round with friends at Westlake Golf Course and saw the low-flying plane hit a tree, spin around 180 degrees and land surprisingly gently.