Two people have died in a single aircraft accident at the Santa Monica Airport.
A flight instructor from Santa Monica Flyers, a flight school located at the airport, and a student were killed while trying to land following an introductory flight lesson at about 4:25 p.m. on Thursday afternoon.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Accident Investigator Elliot Simpson said the flight took off at about 3:30 p.m., flew along the coast for about an hour and everything appeared normal during the landing approach before the plane suddenly climbed and crashed.
“We have witness statements and video at the airport indicating that airplane, shortly after or possibly just before touch down, pitched into the air aggressively nose up, climbed to about a hundred feet and rolled back to the ground,” he said.
Firefighters were assisted by the Santa Monica Police, Santa Monica Airport Operations, and NTSB. There were no impacts to Santa Monica neighborhoods
Santa Monica Firefighters were on scene within a couple of minutes and reported finding the wreckage on fire. Simpson said his team would work on their investigation Thursday night and anticipated clearing the scene by mid-morning Friday.
NTSB is leading the investigation and more information related to the investigation will be made available at www.ntsb.gov. Simpson said a preliminary report on the crash would be available in about 10-14 days. A final report will be issued 12-18 months after the accident.
SMO has experienced several accidents in its history including actor Harrison Ford crashing a plane into the nearby golf course in 2015. Prior to that, four people died when a plane hit a hanger in 2013 and one person died in 2012 when a plane hit several trees just north of the airport.