FAA: 4 People Aboard Plane That Crashed Near El Cajon

Pepper Drive will remain closed between Topper Lane and North 2nd Street through at least Wednesday as the investigation continues

NBC Universal, Inc.

Authorities are investigating a plane that crashed Monday night around 7:15 p.m., in the unincorporated Bostonia neighborhood near El Cajon Monday.

It happened on the roadway of Pepper Drive near North Mollison, a couple of miles east of Gillespie Field, said Lakeside Fire Protection District Chief, Don Butz.

Tuesday morning, the Federal Aviation Authority released new information that four people were aboard the plane, which departed John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana and was headed to Gillespie Field Airport.

The National Transportation and Safety Board said Tuesday afternoon it will release further information in a preliminary report.

Firefighters did not find any survivors at the crash scene.

No injuries or deaths were reported on the ground. One home was damaged, the sheriff's department said.

The plane also took out multiple power poles as it crashed. More than 2,000 residents were left without power, but SDG&E has been working to get it restored overnight, with just over 200 residents without power Tuesday morning.

The crash left behind a field of debris and a stream of fuel, which was spread through streets by heavy showers. A Hazardous Materials team was called to the scene to clean up the mess.

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time.

NBC 7 spoke to some residents in the area who said heard the plane crash near their house.

“We were outside and basically, we heard the plane getting closer. Normally they get loud because we live right by the airport, but it got really, really loud and all of the sudden, we think it could’ve hit our power lines above our house, but we just saw bright blue and orange flashing lights and we heard the electricity running,” said Lauren Watling, a nearby resident.

“And then after that, we heard the plane actually crash. We ran out immediately and there was a ton of smoke everywhere. All we saw was fire and smoke.”

Matt Celustka told NBC 7 he heard a plane fly particularly low and was just waiting to hear an impact.

“I heard the pops and I just knew at that point. And I was worried if it hit any houses," said Celustka. "I went outside with a couple of neighbors just to see, and all I could see were flames in front of houses, up at the top of the street.”

SDG&E map shows power outages in the El Cajon area, Dec. 27, 2021.
SDG&E map shows power outages in the El Cajon area, Dec. 27, 2021.

Pepper Drive will remain closed between Topper Lane and North 2nd Street through Wednesday while the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigate the scene.

Sheriff deputies from the Santee Sheriff's Station and Lakeside Sheriff's Substation responded to the scene along with the Lakeside Fire Protection District, California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the El Cajon Police Department.

Authorities are investigating a plane crash in the unincorporated Bostonia neighborhood near El Cajon Monday that caused some power outages in the area

In October, a small plane crashed into a residential street in Santee, leaving the pilot and a UPS driver dead.

After that crash, NBC 7 Investigates scoured through more than 120 NTSB investigation reports and dug up at least 35 plane or helicopter crashes into San Diego County neighborhoods since 2010.

In those crashes, 30 people died and 20 others were seriously injured.

The airport connected to the lion’s share of those crashes is Gillespie Field in El Cajon – there have been at least 16 crashes in surrounding neighborhoods. After that comes Montgomery-Gibbs in Kearny Mesa with at least nine.

Gillespie is one of the busiest small aircraft airports in the San Diego area with between 600 and 800 flights per day.

On Tuesday, the FAA confirmed in a preliminary report that there were two crew members and two passengers killed in the crash.

In a separate report, the National Transportation Safety Board said the Learjet 35A was on an instrument approach to Runway 17 at Gillespie just before crashing at 7:14 p.m. However, as the aircraft drew near the airport, the pilot asked to switch to a visual approach to Runway 27R, and was quickly granted approval.

The plane, however, came down 1.4 miles from the beginning of the runway, according to the NTSB, which said three of its investigators had been assigned to investigate the crash.

The NTSB's final report on the crash, "including the probable cause and any contributing factors, is expected to be completed in 12 to 24 months," officials said.

Contact Us