5 killed in plane crash in California parking lot

Five killed after plane crashes near South Coast Plaza in Santa Ana

Photos from the scene show the plane upright but on its belly outside the South Coast Plaza shopping centre.

A small, twin-engine Cessna bound for John Wayne Airport in Orange County crashed into the parking lot of a Staples office supply store at about 12:30 pm Sunday, killing all five people aboard, Orange County fire officials said.

The plane was heading to the airport southeast of Los Angeles when it came down and struck an unoccupied parked auto in the lot of a Staples store and a CVS pharmacy, Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi said.

"The plane looks like it came nearly straight down into the ground".

The plane crashed near the shopping center South Coast Plaza in Santa Ana. That intersection remains closed this evening.

The plane took off Sunday from an airport in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Concord.

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The FAA tweeted that a Cessna 414 declared an emergency landing and crashed in a mall parking lot near the John Wayne Orange County Airport.

The death toll originally was believed to be three, but was upped to five as firefighters examined the crash. One auto was destroyed.

According to O.C. Fire Authority, a group of firefighters having lunch across the street jumped on their truck and rushed to the scene after one of them heard screaming.

Referring to the pilot, Bommarito said: "If he did do anything that prevented him from going anywhere else that was more crowded, he did a great job". There were no injuries on the ground.

As of 5 p.m., firefighters were still trying to free some of the bodies from the wreckage, Bommarito said. The pilot and all four passengers were killed.

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