Neighbors: Plane 'sounded like a missile' as it broke apart

Witnesses say a small plane shook homes and "sounded like a missile" as it broke apart and rained chunks of metal into a Yorba Linda neighborhood, igniting a house fire that killed four people.

The pilot, a retired Chicago police officer living in Nevada, also died Sunday. Investigators were collecting pieces of the plane that fell into homes across about four blocks in Yorba Linda, a community southeast of Los Angeles.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Maja Smith says "the witnesses I've spoken with say that they saw the airplane coming out of the clouds — it was still in one piece — and then they saw the tail breaking off and then the wing breaking off and then something like smoke before the airplane impacted the ground."  She says those witnesses didn’t report an explosion while the twin-engine propeller-driven Cessna 414A was in the air.

Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Cory Martino says 75-year-old Antonio Pastini from Gardnerville, Nevada, was the only person aboard. Authorities were trying to identify the people who died in the house, describing them only as two males and two females. Martino said DNA may be required because of the condition of the bodies.

He says two other people were hospitalized with moderate injuries.

 

Dawn Kamber