A Cessna 152 airplane that exploded in a crash with a North American T28 airplane on a runway at Compton/Woodley Airport was occupied by two men — one who died and the other who was critically injured — and the second plane was occupied only by its pilot, authorities said Thursday.
“The Cessna landed first, trailed by the T28,” Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. “The T28 landed and ran into the Cessna, which was still on the runway, causing the Cessna to explode. There were two people on the Cessna and one on the T28.”
The fatally injured person was a student pilot, a man in his 40s whose name was withheld, pending notification of kin, the coroner’s office said.
A second man in the Cessna was a flight instructor in his 30s. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition, the sheriff’s department said.
The pilot of the T28 was unhurt, according to the sheriff’s department.
Personnel from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were working to determine what caused the two planes to collide.
The collision was reported about 6:55 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Compton Fire Department, which extinguished a fire caused by the crash. According to the FAA, the single-engine airplanes collided on runway 25L.
“We ran out the door (of an airport building), immediately faced with one aircraft dragging parts of another aircraft down the runway,” pilot Billy Jackson told NBC4. “There wasn’t much we could do because there was fire everywhere.”
The Cessna caught fire and burned.
The T28 is a military trainer first used by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy in the 1950s, then was utilized as a counter-insurgency aircraft in the Vietnam War.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash was asked to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Aero Bureau at (562) 421-2701.