Small plane crashes in Bostonia neighborhood

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A small plane scheduled to land at Gillespie Field crashed Monday just after 7 p.m. at the 1200 block of Pepper Hill Drive and N. 2nd Street in the Bostonia neighborhood of unincorporated El Cajon.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Rick Breitenfeldt confirmed that a Learjet 35 was headed to Gillespie Field with four people onboard.

Local authorities said the National Transportation Safety Board would handle the investigation.

NTSB Spokesman Peter C. Knudson said an email airplane had departed John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County and crashed at 7:14 p.m. in El Cajon, California, while on approach to the intended destination of Gillespie Field (SEE).

“The airplane was on an instrument approach to Runway 17 at Gillespie Field. As the airplane neared the airport environment, the pilot requested a change to a visual approach to Runway 27R. Shortly after air traffic control had cleared the airplane to land on Runway 27R, the airplane crashed into a residential area about 1.4 miles from the approach end of the runway,” Knudson wrote.

Knudson said the NTSB has dispatched three investigators to the accident site. One investigator arrived this morning and two more were scheduled to be on scene later today and that local authorities will provide information on the accident victims.

“The Learjet 35A was equipped with a cockpit voice recorder; it was not equipped with a flight data recorder. Once investigators identify and recover the cockpit voice recorder, it will be transported to the recorders laboratory at NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C., where investigators will attempt to read it out,” Knudson stated.

Knudson said if investigators are able to recover usable audio, a transcript of the recording will be created. Although audio recordings of cockpit voice recorders are never released, a transcript of the recording will be available later in the course of the investigation.

“NTSB investigators expect to be on scene in El Cajon for about three days documenting the crash site and any perishable evidence,” stated Knudson. “Witnesses to the accident and those that may have video of any aspect of the accident sequence or have information that could be relevant to the investigation should contact the NTSB by email at witness@ntsb.gov.”

Knudson said a preliminary report detailing the circumstances of the accident is expected to be published on the NTSB website in several weeks. The final accident report, including the probable cause and any contributing factors, is expected to be completed in 12 to 24 months.

On the night of the incident the Sheriff’s Department wrote on its Twitter account that one home was damaged and power lines were knocked down in the area. The Sheriff’s Department asked motorists to avoid the area between Pepper Drive from Mollison Avenue east to Pepper Hill Drive as it will remain closed through Wednesday, Dec. 29 as the FAA and NTSB process the scene and complete their investigation.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is also asking anyone that has videos or photos of the plane crash to send them to witness@ntsb.gov, and that if anyone affected needs mental health resources to call the County Crisis line 24/7 at (888) 724-7240.

Small plane crashes in Bostonia neighborhood