TWO DEAD IN SANTEE PLANE CRASH

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Photo by Jessica Brodkin Webb Two homes and a UPS delivery truck went up in flames when a plane crashed into a residential Santee neighborhood Monday, leaving two dead and multiple people injured. Firefighters prevented flames from spreading to other homes in the area.

A Cessna 340A en route from Yuma, Arizona to Kearny Mesa’s Montgomery Field tore through a United Parcel Service truck at the corner of Greencastle and Jeremy Streets in Santee around 12:15 p.m. Monday before crashing into two homes that immediately broke out in fire.

By the time Santee Fire Department and Santee Sheriff’s deputies made it on scene both houses had gone up in flames along with several parked vehicles.

Lakeside and San Miguel Fire Protection Districts, as well as Heartland Fire and Rescue, were called in for support and Federal Aviation Administration representatives were on scene by 3:30 p.m.

“We do have multiple confirmed fatalities, we do not know exactly how many,” Santee Fire Deputy Justin Matsushita said in a press briefing held about two hours after the crash.

Authorities later confirmed two people were killed in the crash and two others were taken to a hospital.

The UPS driver was identified as Steve Kreuger. The airplane pilot was identified as Dr. Sugata Das by staff at Yuma Regional Medical Center, where Das worked.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of our employee, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We also send our condolences for the other individuals who are involved in this incident, and their families and friends,” said UPS spokesman Craig Poole.

The investigation was turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board around 5 p.m. Monday.

On Tuesday three NTSB investigators arrived to begin the process of documenting the scene.

Part of the investigation will be to request radar data, weather information, air traffic control communication, airplane maintenance records and the pilot’s medical records, officials said. 

The aircraft did not have a recorder on board.

Authorities anticipate a preliminary report will be issued 15 days after Monday’s crash.

A GoFundMe page has been established for residents of the two homes destroyed in the crash:

•Phil and Maria Morris: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-maria-and-phil-rebuild-their-life?qid=7f81c2752140e7fc23d8dbf68b1de386

• Courtney and Cody Campbell: https://www.gofundme.com/f/courtney-and-cody-fire-relief-fund?qid=7f81c2752140e7fc23d8dbf68b1de386

TWO DEAD IN SANTEE PLANE CRASH