The Coast News Group
A twin-engine plane crashed into a Santee neighborhood, killing at least two people and injuring others. Photo via Twitter
A twin-engine plane crashed into a Santee neighborhood, killing at least two people and injuring others. Photo via Twitter
CitiesNewsRegionSan Diego

Plane crashes in Santee neighborhood; at least two dead

SANTEE — Emergency crews and authorities are cleaning up the wreckage and damage today caused by a small plane crash in a San Diego neighborhood that caused some residents to spend the night at an evacuation center.

A twin-engine plane crashed in a residential neighborhood near Santana High School on Monday, killing at least two people, injuring several others and engulfing homes in flames.

The Cessna C340 went down at the intersection of Greencastle and Jeremy streets in Santee about 12:15 p.m. while en route from Yuma, Arizona, to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego, according to county officials and the Federal Aviation Administration.

It was unclear how many occupants were aboard the six-seat aircraft when it plunged to the ground. At least two people died at the scene of the crash, city officials reported. It was unknown whether the victims had been on the plane or on the ground.

Aerial news footage showed a pair of homes gutted by fire at the crash site with the charred wreckage of a vehicle in the roadway in front of them. Initial reports suggested the plane may have struck a UPS delivery truck before plowing into the houses.

In a statement to City News Service, UPS confirmed one of the dead was a UPS employee.

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

“We are cooperating with the responding authorities in their investigation, and we are respectfully deferring questions to the investigating authorities.”

Reports from the scene indicated that part of the plane ended up in one of the heavily damaged homes, while the engine landed in another. The crash created a debris field that covered much of a city block, authorities said.

Administrators at Santana High School instituted a “secure campus” status as a precaution and deputies closed Jeremy Street and North Magnolia Avenue between Mast Boulevard and Second Street while emergency crews worked to extinguish the fires and mitigate other damage caused by the plane crash. Officials shut off electrical service in the immediate area for safety reasons.

The school had returned to normal operations by mid-afternoon, with students being “released for lunch or dismissal if they do not have any other classes today,” according to a campus advisory.

The Red Cross established an evacuation center at Cameron Family YMCA on Riverwalk Drive in Santee for residents forced from their homes due to the crash.