Small Plane Crashes Near San Diego

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SANTEE (CNS) - A small plane crashed in Santee northwest of El Cajon's Gillespie Field today, killing the pilot and lone passenger.

The single-engine, four-seat Cessna 182 Skylane went down about 6:55 a.m. in an industrial lot on Prospect Avenue near Cuyamaca Street and state Route 52, San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.

Santee Fire Chief Richard Smith said nobody on the ground was injured.

Two dogs that were on board survived the impact and were taken to an animal hospital for treatment, Smith said. One apparently was uninjured and the other canine suffered what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.

The aircraft had taken off from Gillespie Field, heading west, when it turned around, lost power and crashed in the industrial yard northwest of the airport, Smith said. The plane appeared to have hit the ground nose first.

Zachary Hill told reporters that he and his sister witnessed the crash and rushed to help, but the front of the plane was ``destroyed.''

Another witness was in the storage yard where the plane crashed and was uninjured but ``shaken up'' from what he saw, Smith said.

Firefighters from Santee and Heartland Fire & Rescue worked to contain a fuel spill near the wreckage, Smith said.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration arrived on scene about 8:30 a.m., and the investigation -- like all plane crashes -- will be handled by the National Transportation Safety Board.

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