|2 Small Planes Collide Midair, Killing 4|
The incident happened at approximately 11 a.m. Sunday [Aug. 16] near Otay Mesa Road and Harvest Street when a twin-engine Sabreliner and a single-engine Cessna 172 collided, according to preliminary reports, said Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Ian Gregor.
The aircraft caught fire when they hit the ground and broke apart, said Nick Schuler, a division chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Lee Swanson told the San Diego Union-Tribune that two small grass fires were ignited by the crash debris, but were extinguished within the hour. No homes were damaged, but fire officials told the Union-Tribune that about two acres burned near where the Cessna crashed.
"It appears it was a very violent crash, as you can tell by both aircraft being in multiple pieces," Schuler said. "Witnesses reported hearing the midair collision. They reported hearing the aircraft hit the ground. And we had numerous reports that there was fire in the area," said Cal Fire Division Chief Nick Schuler.
One firefighter was taken to the hospital after he suffered a heat-related injury, Schuler said. Temperatures in the area approached 100 degrees at the time of the fires.