In Orange County Superbowl Sunday pre-game festivities were abruptly interrupted when a two-engine 1981 Cessna 414A broke apart and crashed into a residential neighborhood in Yorba Linda, leaving five people dead.
The Orange County Register reports that aircraft had taken off from the Fullerton airport shortly before it crashed into a single family dwelling in the 19900 block of Crestknoll Drive at approximately 1:45 p.m.
The plane crashed into the center of a house located just 15 miles away from where its journey began; causing it to burst into flames.
Residents near the crash site report having heard popping noises and the sound of the engine before the plane crashed into the home and feeling the ground shake. Some in the neighborhood believed that they might have even heard cries for help, but were uncertain.
Among the dead are the pilot and four people who had been inside the home at the time of the crash.
According to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) aircraft accident investigator, Eliott Simpson, the crash left a field of debris spanning at four blocks or more, hitting at least 15 homes in the neighborhood. “Based on the debris field and a few videos, the aircraft began to break up in the final stages of its flight,” Simpson said.
Air traffic controllers did not receive any distress calls prior to the crash.
Assistant Chief Pokey Sanchez with the Orange County Fire Authority said three additional people were injured in the incident. Among the injured were two residents being treated for burns and a firefighter who was injured. Investigators said that those who were injured were being treated at an area hospital with moderate injuries.
The identities of the victims have not yet been released by authorities. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation by the FAA, the NTSB, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.