[symple_googlemap title=”Compton airplane crash” location=”901 W. Alondra Ave., Compton, CA” height=”300″ zoom=”15″]
Authorities are investigating the crash of a light plane as it was picking up an advertising banner at Compton/Woodley airport, killing the pilot.
Los Angeles County coroner’s Lt. Larry Dietz said Monday morning it could take some time and dental records to positively identify the pilot’s burned body.
Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to the airport at 901 W. Alondra Ave. at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, a Downey Fire Department dispatcher said.
The pilot was the single-engine Aviat A1’s sole occupant, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.
One person on the ground suffered burns while trying to rescue the pilot, according to reports from the scene.
The plane’s registered owner is Wyoming Services LLC out of Cheyenne, Wyoming, according to the FAA’s online aircraft registry.
Witnesses told reporters at the scene the pilot made several failed attempts to hook the Bud Light banner which was tied to a mast pole.
“Usually, people get it the first time if not the second time,” artist Enkone Goodlow told the LA Times. He said it took the pilot seven times to hook the banner and “all of a sudden, his plane nosed to the ground. We ran full blast toward it, thinking we could pull him out.” But the plane was engulfed in flames.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, Gregor said.
Records cited by the Los Angeles Times show there have been 25 accidents involving banner-towing planes in California in the past two decades, with more than 60 percent of them resulting in injury or death. Eight were in Los Angeles County and four in San Diego County, The Times reported.
— Staff and wire reports