Federal investigators said five people were killed Sunday morning when two small planes, one carrying employees from military contractor BAE Systems, collided midair, crashed to the ground and caught fire as the two approached a San Diego airport. BAE’s U.S. headquarters are in Arlington, Va.
“It appears it was a very violent crash, as you can tell by both aircraft being in multiple pieces, ” Cal Fire Division Chief Nick Schuler told reporters, according to Fox News. “Witnesses reported hearing the midair collision. They reported hearing the aircraft hit the ground. And we had numerous reports that there was fire in the area.”
Both planes were attempting to land when the twin-engine Sabreliner jet, carrying four passengers, collided with a single-engine Cessna 172 over Brown Field Municipal Airport, near the U.S.-Mexico border, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Andrew Swick told KNSD-TV.
The National Transportation Safety Board said BAE Systems was on a mission training flight at the time of the crash.
Swick said the Cessna’s pilot was on a cross-country trip.
Authorities say multiple people died following the midair collision and crash of two small planes near an airport in southern San Diego County. The collision occurred about 2 miles northeast of Brown Field Municipal Airport. (John Gastaldo/U-T San Diego via AP)
There were no survivors. The victims’ names have not been released.
The planes collided about 2 miles from Brown Field, a former Naval auxiliary air station in San Diego’s Otay Mesa neighborhood. Today, the airport acts as a “reliever” facility to ease the load on the region’s international airport Lindbergh Field, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Sabreliner jet went down on a grassy slope and the Cessna crashed near the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Debris from the wreckage sparked a brush fire, which was quickly extinguished.