At least two people were confirmed dead after a plane crashed in a neighborhood near Santana High School in Santee Monday afternoon, causing a fire that destroyed two homes and damaged several more.
At 12:15 p.m., authorities began receiving reports of a plane down in a neighborhood on Greencastle Street, near Jeremy Street. According to the FAA, the plane was a twin-engine Cessna C340 and crashed at about 12:15 p.m. The two people killed included a UPS driver whose vehicle was hit by the plane or exploding debris. Two other people in homes were hurt and rushed to a hospital..
The plane was owned by Dr. Sugata Das, according to the Yuma Regional Medical Center. While there was no official confirmation late Monday whether Das was the pilot at the time of the crash. the following statement was released by the chief medical officer of the Medical Center. “We are deeply sad to hear news of a plane owned by local cardiologist Dr. Sugata Das which crashed near Santee,” said Dr. Bharat Magu. Chief Medical Officer at YRMC. “As an outstanding cardiologist and dedicated family man Dr. Das leaves a lasting legacy. We extend our prayers and support to his family, colleagues and friends during this difficult time."
UPS confirmed that one of its employees was killed during the plane crash. In a statement, the UPS said: We are heartbroken by the loss of our employee, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We also send our condolences for the other individuals who are involved in this incident, and their families and friends. We are cooperating with the responding authorities in their investigation, and we are respectfully deferring questions to the investigating authorities.
Neighbors pulled a couple in their 70s from one of the homes, both of which were engulfed in fire. The man and woman were taken to a hospital in serious condition, officials said.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by the NTSB. The plane crashed into a neighborhood that is about two blocks east of Santana High School. No one on the school campus was hurt but the school was placed a security status until authorities were sure there was no danger from the fire.