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1 dead after small plane crashes in Van Nuys

Posted at 2:01 PM, Aug 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-02 18:14:21-04

VAN NUYS, Calif. - A pilot was killed Tuesday in the crash of a small plane into an industrial building just east of Van Nuys Airport.

The plane crashed around 1:30 p.m. into a building at 16145 W. Hart St., fire officials said. The plane was largely demolished when it slammed into the concrete structure near Woodley Avenue.

Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane is believed to be an Arion Lightning, a light-sport kit-type aircraft. He said the pilot was apparently performing "touch-and-go" practice maneuvers at Van Nuys Airport when the crash occurred.

Desmond Shaw, an airborne traffic reporter for KNX Newsradio and CBS2/KCAL9, said he witnessed the crash while heading to an assignment. He said on KNX that the pilot contacted the tower at Van Nuys Airport and reported hearing a banging noise, and tower personnel responded that part of his landing gear appeared to be loose.

The pilot said he would head back to the airport to land, but never made it, Shaw said.

"He circled back around and was about to make a descent onto (the runway) and all of a sudden lost altitude and crashed into the side of an industrial building," he said.

The building did not appear to have suffered any structural damage, but some power lines were reported down.