Los Angeles, CA Two Private Planes Collide, Feb 2000



Los Angeles (AP) - Two small airplanes collided Monday, sending one craft crashing and burning onto a golf course and the other into trees across a freeway. At least four people were killed.
Golfer Danny Garza said he ran for his life.
"All I hear is like an explosion, and as I look up I see this plane coming straight down, and it looks like it got entangled in some telephone wires," Garza told KNBC-TV. "And from then on I just kept running, thinking that those telephone wires were going to fall on me."
One plane hit on the sixth hole of Cascade Golf Course, in the Sylmar section of Los Angeles about 25 miles northwest of downtown. The other fell on the opposite side of Interstate 5, the main north-south route between northern and southern California.
Several shaken motorists pulled over to the side of the freeway.
"I thought it was an air show," said Gus Echeverri, who was driving to work. "Then he spiraled down, nose-dived and clipped the power line. I saw it when it hit the (golf course), and there was a big ball of fire."
Fire Capt. Steve Ruda said there were at least four dead, two from each plane. No one on the ground was hurt, authorities said.
Rescuers were checking beneath the debris for more bodies, and were also searching for a body in nearby hills, officials said.
"Witnesses are saying that someone may have fallen out of one of the airplanes," Fire Department spokesman Bob Collis said.
"Firefighters are trying to confirm
that report." Dogs were brought in to assist in the search.
Neither plane reported problems beforehand, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kirsti Dunn said.
It was unclear where the other plane, a Bellanca Citabria, was headed, Dunn said.
Golfer Peter Seidran said he and others heard a loud bang then saw a red plane crash across the freeway. The other plane came down just 20 feet away, he said.
"It was real scary," Seidran said.
"We felt the debris come down. Some parts of the wings come down close to us."

Salina Journal Kansas 2000-02-08