Investigators Search For Clues In Van Nuys Jet Crash
Two Killed When Plane Goes Down In Field
POSTED: 11:02 am PST January 12, 2007
UPDATED: 10:41 am PST January 13, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The investigation continued Saturday into the cause of a fatal jet crash Friday in Van Nuys.Firefighters found the remains of two people in the wreckage of a plane that crashed Friday shortly after takeoff at the Van Nuys Airport, according to fire officials.Images: Plane Crash | Video
The Federal Aviation Administration identified the aircraft as a Cessna 525 Business Jet. FAA officials said the plane was departing for Long Beach Airport.Fire department spokesman Ron Meyers said the remains were found in the burned wreckage.The plane's left-hand nose baggage door was "wide open" as it took off, and the jet was veering side-to-side at a low speed, said witness Steve Purwin, a corporate jet pilot with 25 years experience."He was right on the verge of stall," Purwin said.The plane then banked to its right before crashing, he said.The crash occurred at 10:55 a.m. in a field near Hayvenhurst Avenue between Napa and Chase streets. Fire crews extinguished an intense blaze fed by jet fuel."The heat was incredible," said a witness who said he saw the crash from Hayvenhurst Avenue. "The heat was unbearable. It was a real loud sound, like the plane was dying. You could see the dude jump out of the plane."The jet, registered to Sun Quest Executive Air Charter, crashed less than a half mile past the runway. A company employee told NBC4 that Frank Kratzer, Sun Quest's founder and owner, was on the plane.Authorities said the pilot radioed the tower and attempted to return to the airport."It landed under a tree and burned the tree up," said witness Jerry Pugmire. "It landed behind a house. I don't know how it missed the house. The people in that house are very lucky."Pugmire said four planes have crashed in the area since he moved there in 1973.NBC4's Justin Jaeger said planes continued to takeoff and land at the airport.Fire officials said the FAA will investigate the crash.Van Nuys Airport is the world's busiest general aviation airport. The facility averages nearly 500,000 takeoffs and landings each year, according to the airport's Web site.
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