Two people died when a small aircraft crashed into a parking lot near the Van Nuys Airport Friday afternoon, officials said.
Fire crews responded around 3 p.m. to the scene on Hayvenhurst Avenue in Lake Balboa, about 50 yards away from the airport, the Los Angeles Fire Department said in an alert.
Aerial video from Sky5 showed the charred remains of the plane at the center of a small parking lot, between two lines of cars. The parking lot appears to be outside a building at 7011 Hayvenhurst Ave. that houses multiple businesses.
The single-engine Ryan Navion B had just departed Van Nuys en route to the Santa Ynez Airport in Santa Barbara County, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Ian Gregor.
Witnesses reported seeing the plane lift off and climb several hundred feet before it appeared to stall out and nosedived to the ground. Gregor said it burst into flames after crashing.
Dave Battle said he was inside his Farmers Insurance office one block away when he heard the commotion and saw a “huge, black mushroom cloud.”
Theresa Cameron, who lives in a condo nearby, said she “felt a sudden jolt” and thought there was an earthquake.
The ages and genders of the two dead are unknown, and LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said the death toll could rise.
“We have yet to comb through that debris,” Scott said.
No one on the ground was hurt.
The buildings surrounding the parking lot weren’t damaged, but three parked vehicles were, fire officials said.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were responding to investigate. The NTSB will determine a probable cause for the crash at a later date.