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Pilot is killed after small plane crashes into parked cars near northeastern Los Angeles airport

  • Small plane crashed into parked cars near Whiteman Airport in Los Angeles 
  • Crash took place just before 11:50am local time, according to officials 
  • Aerial footage from the scene shows billowing smoke and two cars on fire 
  • At least one person was killed in the crash, which was near an airport runway 
  • Initial reports identified the fatality as the pilot of a Cessna 172
  • FAA says initial indications are aircraft was approaching Runway 12 at Whiteman 
  • Officials said no one on the ground was hurt and one homes was damaged by fire

The pilot of a small plane was killed after the aircraft crashed into several parked vehicles in a residential area located just a few feet from an airport runway in the Pacoima section of Los Angeles on Thursday morning.

Several cars on the street burst into flames after the aircraft apparently collided into them just before 11:50am local time, according to initial reports.

Contrary to initial reports, the plane, a single-engine Cessna 172, did not crash into a home, KABC-TV reported. The pilot was the only person on board, according to authorities.

Christina Pascucci, a KTLA reporter, tweeted that seconds before the crash the pilot told the control tower that he lost an engine.

‘Hopefully, we’ll make it,’ the pilot is reported to have told air traffic control. Seconds later, however, he was dead.

First responders rushed to the scene near Whiteman Airport in the northeastern San Fernando Valley, KTLA-TV reported.  By noon local time, firefighters managed to extinguish the flames.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said that the flames spread to at least one structure.

The aircraft was approaching Runway 12 when it crashed, according to preliminary information released by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Video footage shot by news helicopters showed smoke billowing from the crash site in front of a home near Pierce Street and Sutter Avenue.

At least two cars appeared to be on fire.

Firefighters on the scene said that the aircraft appeared to have caused power lines to come down.

As a result, authorities shut off electricity to the area.

‘Firefighters extinguished the flames engulfing at least two vehicles and the wreckage after a small aircraft went down in a residential area,’ the LAFD said in a statement.

‘The fire spread to trees and vegetation in front of a residential home, but firefighters navigated downed power lines and protected the home from sustaining any structural fire damage.

‘Sadly, the sole occupant of the aircraft was deceased. No other bystander injuries reported.

‘The circumstances surrounding the events leading up to the crash are under investigation.’

Whiteman Airport is an airfield with two narrow runways that primarily caters to small aircraft as well as medium turboprops and jets. It is owned and operated by Los Angels County.

It has two runways and averages 318 takeoffs and landings each day, according to its website. Some 230 aircraft are based at the field.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board have launched an investigation into the crash.

The crash took place just two months after two people were killed when a small plane slammed into a parking lot in nearby Van Nuys Airport.

The plane, which crashed just off a runway, barely missing parked cars in a narrow space between industrial buildings.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.