San Diego

Plane Plows Into Backyard of Clairemont Home, 2 Killed

NBC 7 has confirmed one of the people killed in the crash was Robert Stelling, 50, of South Hampton, New York.

Two people were killed after a small plane crashed into the backyard of a Clairemont Mesa home Saturday. 

A single-engine Beech BE36 Bonanza aircraft went into the backyard of a home on Chandler Drive, near Interstate-805 and Balboa Avenue, four minutes after takeoff, according to FAA spokesperson Allen Kenitzer.

The aircraft with four people on board reported engine failure shortly after departing Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego at approximately 4:30 p.m., San Diego Fire Department said.

William Bussey was driving when he spotted the plane.

“It sounded like it was sputtering a little. It just kind of made a little drop and dogleg left,” he told NBC 7. “I was pretty familiar with flight paths around here and knew that wasn't normal.”

The pilots were attempting to land in an open area of a nearby schoolyard, however, the plane tore through the school's fence and skidded into the yard of a nearby home.

The home and the plane quickly became engulfed in flames.

Two of the plane's occupants were found dead at the scene, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Brian Fennessy said.

NBC 7 has confirmed one of the people killed in the crash was Robert Stelling, 50, of South Hampton, New York. 

The two other occupants — a man and a woman — were found walking away from the aircraft.

Neighbor Marc Bejjana said he was speechless when he saw one of the survivors standing on the other side of the flames.

“To be able to walk off after something like that is pretty incredible,” he said.

Bejjana Heard her yelling "he's in there, he's in there!"

"It ended up being one of the survivors in the plane, referring to her husband in the plane so that was really scary," he said. 

They were taken to University of California San Diego to be treated for burn injuries sustained in the crash. 

Kenitzer said local authorities reported no bystanders were injured.

No one was in the home at the time of the crash but the homeowner's dog. When the plane crashed, the dog ran out of the home and was hit by an oncoming vehicle. 

The dog did not survive. 

San Diego Gas & Electric reported that a foreign object came into contact with a power line at about the same time as the crash. The utility warned some areas of Clairemont and Kearny Mesa may experience power outages.

The plane crash occurred less than a mile from Montgomery-Gibbs Field.

The National Transportation Safety Board is responding to investigate the crash.

No other information was available.

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