By Vivianna Shields, Caleb Lunetta and Bobby Block
A pilot was killed in a fiery plane crash Saturday morning near the Newhall Avenue off ramp of Highway 14.
“We have a report of a plane down with fire, and that is all we have right now,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Melanie Flores at 10:19 a.m.
It appeared to be a small Cessna airplane, according to Mike York, a witness of the crash.
One fatality was confirmed as a result from the crash, according to Fire Dispatch Supervisor Mark Marrujo.
The sole occupant of the aircraft was pronounced deceased at the scene, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department news release says.
Christina Pascucci, from KTLA/ATC, recovered emergency radio transmission from the pilot, right before the crash.
“I’m going to have to put the plane down,” said the pilot, “…can’t see a thing.”
Fire officials received the call at 10:12 a.m..
“All I know is it circled around and I heard a clicking noise above me,” said York. “I saw that the motor wasn’t running and smoke was coming out of it.”
A lot of smoke was visible from the 14, according to witnesses on the scene.
“Our first call we got was at 10:11 a.m.,” said Josh Greengard of the California Highway Patrol Newhall-area Office. “Initial reports state a small Cessna-type plane was smoking and falling from the sky.”
“The guy was really straight as it was coming in and I’m saying, ‘He’s going to crash,’ and he hit a tree,” said York. “It looked like he was trying to land. I saw a panicked guy in the plane, and that is all I noticed.”
“He was in a smoking nose dive and I thought he got out, but he hit so hard he never got out,” said George Paramore, an additional witness of the crash.
A minute after a sheriff’s helicopter landed on the 14 freeway northbound on ramp, Los Angeles County Fire Department officials laid a lone sheet over what appeared to be the body of someone who had been aboard the plane.
“This remains an ongoing investigation with multiple agencies, including Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Aero Bureau and the FAA,” according to an SCV Sheriff’s Station news release. “The Newhall Avenue off ramp from the 14 freeway will remain closed as the investigation continues.”
The National Transportation Safety Board will also be conducting an investigation of the incident, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Lt. Ethan Marquez said in a statement to press.
The projected re-opening of the Newhall Avenue on/off ramp of the northbound side of the 14 freeway will be Sunday around 10-11 a.m., according to Greengard.
This is a breaking news story, and more information will be added as it becomes available.