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Small Plane Crashes into Backyard of Rio Linda Home; Pilot Killed

Rio Linda --  Flashing lights, snagged power lines and a pilot dead in a home-built aircraft -- it's the kind of tragedy that's making some folks in one part of Rio Linda look at their neighborhood differently.

"It makes you think ... it's sad," said Gail Hunt.

While the tragic possibilities are just settling in on Hunt, who's a 40-year-resident, San Saelee has feared something like the crash that happened Thursday afternoon since he moved into the area a year ago.

"Planes always coming by.  This is I guess the (flight path)...I've thought about it," he said.

Planes of all types regularly cruise over the intersection of U and 28th streets, near McClellan Airfield, but investigators say one four-seater, Lancair IV-P got into trouble around 3 p.m.

"Witnesses stated they saw they plane, at a low elevation. coming in a southbound direction, hit a power pole and power lines at the property, trees on the property line and then went down," said Sgt. Tony Turnbull with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

"I was at home, and I was about to eat something, and I heard a loud bang," said Saelee.

"I ran outside to see what was going on," Saelee said.

Saelee saw deputies rushing in to secure the area where the plane went down -- right in the backyard of a home just 50 to 75 yards away from where a family was inside.

Luckily, they were not hurt and no structures were hit, but the pilot -- identified as 71-year-old Marshall Michaelian -- did not survive his day at the controls of what some experts describe as a very complicated plane to fly.

Michaelian, a dentist from the Bay Area, was the only person on-board.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the wrecked aircraft was owned by Pilot Proficiency Incorporated of Henderson, Nevada.

Investigators have not yet been able to confirm the plane's take-off or planned landing location.

U Street will be closed between 26th to the west and  30th to the east until crews from the National Transportation Safety Board arrive Friday.

28th Street will be closed  from Elverta to the north and Elkhorn to the south.