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1 killed as small plane crashes on Los Angeles street

  • Unidentified firemen covered the body of a pilot killed in a small plane crash at a Los Angeles intersection just south of Van Nuys Airport, in Van Nuys, Calif., on Friday. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES » A small plane crashed Friday in a Los Angeles intersection just south of Van Nuys Airport, killing the one person aboard, authorities said.

The aircraft did not hit any vehicles or structures and there was no fire, Fire Department spokesman Erik Scott said. The victim died at the scene.

The plane was a single-engine Lancair and went down around 1:15 p.m. shortly after takeoff from Van Nuys, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

Sharon Mashal, 22, said she was getting lunch when she heard a big boom.

"It was really loud, I thought something exploded. I looked around the corner and I saw a plane on the ground," she said.

She said she saw the wings and nose in pieces on the street.

"As for the cockpit, there was no roof, everything was really crushed," she said.

Others witnesses to the crash told her they watched the plane spiral out of control before hitting the ground.

The plane ended up against a curb with one wing bent around a traffic signal pole. The craft’s front end and cockpit were demolished.

It appeared most of the debris ended up on the street outside a used car sale lot, said Rick Grant, who arrived on scene after the crash.

PJ Jafari, a manager at the used car dealership, was sitting at his desk when he saw the plane from his window.

"Then I heard a big boom. It was like a bomb went off," he said.

Van Nuys Airport is a large general aviation airport in the middle of the San Fernando Valley. Around the time of the crash, the National Weather Service reported 6 mph winds, a temperature of 69 degrees and 10-mile visibility in the area.

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