Police officer walks by wreckage
A police officer walks past the wreckage. Courtesy OnScene.TV

Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators will be at Fullerton Airport Friday to try to determine why a twin-engine plane loaded with fuel crashed and burned while taking off, killing the pilot.

The six-seat Beechcraft Duke crashed about 7:50 p.m. Thursday while departing from Runway 24 at Fullerton Municipal Airport, authorities said.

The plane was traveling about 80 mph and was around 15 feet off the ground when it veered left and crashed to the ground, exploding into a fireball, according to Fullerton Fire Department Division Chief Kathy Schaeffer.

Crews arrived within 10 minutes of dispatch and had the fire out by 8:13 p.m., she said.

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene, Schaeffer said.

The plane, which had just fueled up, ended up on a taxiway, where it was engulfed in flames, she said.

The pilot had filed a flight plan from Fullerton to Heber City Municipal Airport in Heber, Utah, according to Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration. Heber is about 45 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

Firefighters from Anaheim and the Orange County Fire Authority also responded to the crash, Schaeffer said.

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