On Feb. 3, 2019, a Cessna 414A plane crashed into a house in Yorba Linda, California, killing the pilot and four people in the house. The small plane crashed into a home around 1:45 p.m. as residents in the neighborhood were getting ready to watch the Super Bowl.
According to Federal Aviation Administration officials, the twin-engine Cessna 414A departed from Fullerton Municipal Airport at around 1:30 p.m. The pilot was the sole occupant aboard the aircraft. About 10 miles into the flight, the pilot experienced a mid-air issue and the plane entered into a drastic descent.
Nancy Mehl, who lives next door to the crash site, was in her kitchen when she heard a loud sound reminiscent of a plane preparing to take off. Sensing something was wrong, she grabbed her two dogs and huddled in a corner of her home. Her husband took cover in another part of the house.
Seconds later, a piece of the plane’s engine torpedoed through multiple rooms of their house before finally coming to a stop in a bathroom. The exhaust pipe crashed through the second story and melted into the carpet. The propeller landed in the driveway.
“[I]t felt like a bomb went off through the front of the house,” Mehl told the Los Angeles Times.
“One of the first things I did when I saw the damage was get on my knees and thank God. Talk about being spared.”
A neighboring home, which was also hosting a Super Bowl party, bore the brunt of the crash and subsequent fire. Four people in the house were killed and neighbors witnessed others escaping, desperately calling out for family members they could not immediately locate. Two people were transported to the hospital with burn injuries and a firefighter suffered an ankle injury responding to the emergency.
NTSB Investigation Cause of Fatal Yorba Linda Cessna Crash
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) arrived to survey the scene and hope to collect all the debris on Feb. 4. According to an initial report, the plane’s main cabin ended up landing in a ravine behind a home. The debris field from the wreckage covered some four blocks.
The NTSB investigation into the cause of the Yorba Linda plane crash will likely take a year or more to complete.