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Small Plane Crashes Into Calif. Home

March 17, 2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A single-engine plane on approach to the Santa Monica Airport crashed into a home and burst into flames Tuesday. A man and woman aboard the plane were killed, but a man inside the house escaped unharmed.

The plane, which took off from the Mammoth Lakes area, lost radar contact with a control facility in San Diego as it made its approach to the airport, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Donn Walker. Soon after, it crashed about 400 to 500 yards from the runway, authorities said.

A dense cloud covering as low as 200 feet blanketed the area, said Joe Sirard, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

The plane skidded across a nearby rooftop before crashing into a garage and ricocheting into the rear of the home, Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

A man, woman and child lived in the house. Only the man was at home, in a front room on the first floor, when the plane struck. He walked away uninjured.

The fire was extinguished in 20 minutes. A separate blaze in a van outside the garage was quickly put out.

``They’re profoundly fortunate,″ Humphrey said.

Walker said the propeller-driven Mooney was built in 1982 and was registered to an unidentified man from Ashland, Ore. The plane’s owner told authorities the couple lived in Malibu and were in their 60s and 70s.

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