Pilot Killed After Small Plane Crashes, Erupts in Flames Near California Freeway

Posted at 12:28 PM, Jan 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-04 14:28:20-05

Santa Clarita, CA (KTLA) -- A pilot was killed after a small plane crashed and erupted in flames near the northbound 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita Saturday morning, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Firefighters responded to the downed plane near the Newhall Avenue off-ramp following reports of an “aircraft emergency” at about 10:10 a.m.

Photos and video posted online show flames and a thick cloud of black smoke billowing over a grassy area near the roadway.

Courtney Gonzales, who was hiking in the area at the time, said she saw the plane nose-dive down, clip a tree and crash near the freeway.

“The next thing we saw was a big black cloud of smoke,” she told KTLA.

The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. No other deaths or injuries were reported.

Fire officials said the flames did not spread to surrounding brush.

California Highway Patrol has closed a northbound lane of the freeway as well as the Newhall Avenue off-ramp for an unknown duration.

It’s unclear what led to the crash and no further details were immediately available.