SANTA ANA – Five people were killed Sunday afternoon when a twin-engine aircraft that had taken off from Concord’s Buchanan Field crashed in a parking lot near the South Coast Plaza shopping center.
All those who died were aboard the plane, a Cessna 414 that had declared an emergency on approach to John Wayne Airport, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi from the scene. There were no survivors, he said.
There was no fire, and no one on the ground was reported injured. The owner of one car with a smashed windshield was in a store shopping at the time.
The airport continued operating after the crash, the fire captain said.
The private flight was heading for Atlantic Aviation, one of the airport’s private contractors for handling such flights, said airport spokeswoman Deanne Thompson. The crash site is about one mile northwest of the northern end of the runway at John Wayne Orange County Airport.
Arlene Salac, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that the plane had reported an emergency. “The FAA will investigate and the NTSB will determine the cause of the accident,” she added.
According to FlightAware, a 1973 Cessna Chancellor 414 twin-engine plane took off from Buchanan Field in Concord at 10:23 a.m. and had been scheduled to land at 12:30 p.m.
The Cessna, a fixed-wing multi-engine plane with seven seats, was registered to Category III Aviation Corp. in San Francisco.
The plane went down at 12:28 p.m. into the parking lot of a Staples Supercenter. The parking lot is shared by a CVS drug store, a Michaels art-supply store and a Wells Fargo Bank branch, among other stores. A gas station is nearby.
The crash site is diagonally across the intersection from the South Coast Plaza, which also borders Bristol Street on the Costa Mesa side of the roadway.
The plane was registered to a San Francisco company and had flown from the East bay suburb of Concord, according to FAA records.
The death toll was originally believed to be three, but was upped to five as firefighters examined the crash.
PLANE DOWN-SANTA ANA- OCFA and Costa Mesa Fire units are onscene of an aircraft down in the 3900 block of Bristol Street in the City of Santa Ana. Unknown injuries at this time.
— OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) August 5, 2018
Plane crash Costa Mesa mall parking lot. Fatalities confirmed. pic.twitter.com/kyX9dCCIBR
— Eddie Ponsdomenech (@edpons) August 5, 2018
— Johnny LaVigne (@Johnny_Lavigne) August 5, 2018