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Probe underway into plane crash
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09:06, April 14, 2008

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Federal officials launched an investigation on Sunday into a plane crash in a Los Angeles neighborhood that injured five people and damaged two houses, authorities said.

The crash of the twin-engine Cessna 310 into two homes was reported at 3:55 p.m. Saturday, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

Two people on the plane and two others on the ground were initially reported to be in critical condition. A fifth victim reported feeling ill after the crash but all are expected to survive, a fire official told TV station CBS2.

Leo Wyatt, who lives in the neighborhood, said he saw the plane crash and ran to the scene, where he could see that the pilot was still alive.

"At that time, I saw the pilot move. I said `That man is alive, he's moving,'" Wyatt said.

Even though he could hear fuel leaking from the plane, Wyatt told the reporter that he pulled out the pilot and a passenger. Then he went to help a 47 year-old man and his 45 year-old wife who were in their kitchen when the plane crashed through the roof. Wyatt said the woman was thrown into the yard and buried in rubble.

"She got thrown out, in between the yard. And it was like the whole wall had collapsed on top of her. So, you couldn't see her, you couldn't hear her. And I was calling her name 15, 20 times and she didn't respond," Wyatt said.

All of the injured were taken to hospitals, and listed in stable condition, the TV station reported.

The Cessna had taken off from the Hawthorne Airport and flown to Montgomery Field, a general aviation airport in the San Diego community of Kearny Mesa, near Los Angeles. It was headed back to Hawthorne when the pilot apparently tried to make an emergency landing at the Compton Airport, officials said.

The plane was registered in Carson City, Nevada, and the pilot belonged to a local flying club in Compton, Los Angeles, the TV station reported.

Other homes in the neighborhood were evacuated as a precaution. The wreckage was expected to be removed later Sunday, the TV station reported.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the cause of the crash.


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