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Five killed in plane crash in San Diego, California

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Authorities say multiple people died following the midair collision and crash of two small planes near an airport in San Diego, California.

Five people have been killed after two small planes collided in midair over San Diego, California, near the US-Mexico border in what authorities described as a “very violent crash.”

The crash occurred Sunday morning when a twin-engine Sabreliner jet collided with a single-engine Cessna 172 plane about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of downtown San Diego.

One of the planes was carrying four employees from BAE Systems, a British multinational military and aerospace company.

“It appears it was a very violent crash, as you can tell by both aircraft being in multiple pieces,” California fire division chief Nick Schuler told reporters.

The crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Both planes were attempting to land when the BAE Systems plane collided with the Cessna over Brown Field Municipal Airport, according to NTSB investigator Andrew Swick.

Swick said BAE Systems was on a mission training flight at the time of the crash and the Cessna’s 65-year-old pilot was on a cross-country trip.

About 350 people are killed in private aircraft crashes every year in the United States, according to the FAA.

Approximately 45,000 people have been killed over the past fifty years in private plane and helicopter crashes, almost nine times the number that have died in passenger airline crashes.

A USA TODAY investigation last year found repeated instances in which crashes, deaths and injuries were caused by defective parts and dangerous designs by small plane manufacturers, contrary to claims by federal investigators who have cited pilots as causing or contributing to 86 percent of private crashes.


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