A National Transportation Safety Board investigator will return to Santa Monica Airport today to try determine what caused a pilot to crash a single-engine Cessna into a residential property near the airport.
At 2:29 p.m. Monday, the pilot crashed near 21st and Navy Streets — about a third of a mile west of the runway.
Santa Monica Airport Director Robert Trimborn said he was in his office when he witnessed the plane go down, about a mile and a quarter away from his building.
“All I saw was the airplane attempting to land,” Trimborn told The Mirror. “It appears as though he was going around when something went horribly wrong and the accident happened.”
Trimborn said the pilot was on a solo cross country flight to Santa Barbara.
“He experienced some kind of equipment failure and I’m not really clear of that, and then he came back to land,” Trimborn said. “He was on his return to landing when this happened. He wasn’t practicing takeoffs and landings. He was returning to the airport.”
The pilot survived, suffering only a broken leg and some minor injuries. No-one on the ground was seriously injured.
The wreckage was removed from the crash site last night.
Wayne Pollack is the senior National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator who has been assigned to the incident.
Pollack told The Mirror this morning that typically the aircraft manufacturer, and the Federal Aviation would assist in an investigation such as this.
“At Santa Monica Airport, the plan for today’s activities involve auditioning the air traffic control communications tape from the Santa Monica Airport control tower,” Pollack told The Mirror. “(I’ll be) reviewing maintenance records and that’s about all I can tell you right now.”
Santa Monica Police Department Sgt. Robert Almada said the pilot was pulled from the wreck by two workers who were painting the house at the time of the crash.
One of the painters suffered minor cuts and bruises caused from flying debris when the plane made impact with the house and was taken to hospital.
The other painter was exposed to aviation fuel, but was decontaminated by responders from the Santa Monica Fire Department at the scene and was released shortly after the accident.
The force of the crash bent the aircraft in half and ripped the wings off the plane.
The pilot’s name has not been released.
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