Two planes collided over Watsonville, California, on Thursday afternoon, killing at least two people.
The Federal Aviation Administration reported that at around 3 p.m., a single-engine Cessna 152 and a twin-engine Cessna 340 collided while attempting to land at Watsonville Municipal Airport.
One of the planes crashed into a nearby field, while the other crashed into a hangar.
According to city officials, the single-engine plane had one person on board and the other had two people on board, confirming multiple fatalities.
There were no reported injuries on the ground at the time of the crash.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are leading the investigation, which is being assisted by Watsonville police and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials were supposed to hold a press conference about the incident at 6 p.m. PST, but that has been canceled.
According to its website, the airport has four runways and can accommodate more than 300 aircraft. It handles over 55,000 operations per year and is frequently used for recreational planes and agricultural businesses.
Social media photos and videos showed the wreckage of a small plane in a grassy field near the airport. A plume of smoke was visible from a street near the airport in one photograph.
A city of Watsonville photo showed damage to a small building at the airport, with firefighters on the scene.
According to a witness, the planes were about 200 feet in the air when they crashed.
Franky Herrera was driving past the airport when he noticed the twin-engine plane bank hard to the right and collide with the wing of the smaller plane, which ‘just spiraled down and crashed’ near the airfield’s edge and not far from homes, he told the newspaper.
The twin-engine plane continued to fly, but ‘it was struggling,’ Herrera said, before he noticed flames on the other side of the airport.
In the hours following the crash, the manager of the Watsonville Municipal Airport was unavailable for a phone interview.
According to the City of Watsonville’s website, the airport accounts for roughly 40% of all general aviation activities in the Monterey Bay area.
The Watsonville Police Department forwarded calls to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, where a dispatcher was unable to provide information.
Two other pilots were injured in separate aircraft crashes in California on Thursday.
Authorities said a 65-year-old San Diego man suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries when his single-engine plane crashed on a street near a busy freeway overpass in El Cajon.
The plane reportedly collided with an SUV, but no one was injured on the ground in the city nearly 20 miles northeast of downtown San Diego.
Later, an ultralight plane crashed upside down on a building at Camarillo Airport in Ventura County, about 60 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The pilot was critically injured.