Pilot dies after single-engine plane crashes into Upland home and sets it ablaze

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UPLAND, Calif. (KTLA) -- A pilot died after crashing a single-engine plane into a home in Upland, setting it ablaze Thursday morning as three people inside managed to escape unharmed, authorities said.

The plane was leaving Cable Airport in Upland when it collided into the house, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

At 10:56 a.m., authorities were called to a fire at the home, located in the 1200 block of West Overland Court, according to fire officials and police. Firefighters managed to get the blaze under control by 12:20 p.m.

Witnesses thought the aircraft may have been a helicopter because a parachute was deployed, Blanco said, but it's a four-seater, single-engine Cirrus SR22.

Some witnesses said the plane was flying low, making a sharp U-turn just before plunging from the sky.

Inside the home, a man and his son were able to escape without injury, Blanco said. Authorities later said a baby was also inside the house and got out safely.

All occupants inside the home have been accounted for, according to Jimmy Schiller, a Fire Department spokesman.

Ann Burdett, who lives next door, said she was at her computer facing a window that looks out to the home when she heard a "sudden explosion."

"I felt the impact," Burdett said. "The blinds were shut but they were that bright color."

She screamed and her husband came running from his office in their home, yelling, "Get out! Get out!," she said. "So we grabbed our cell phones and ran out."

When they came out of their garage, they saw their neighbor's "whole house was engulfed" in flames, she said.

Her neighbor come out with his son and "they were fine," she said.

"I just felt comfort. I just felt God's protection that it would come down 10 feet from me," she said. "I was literally 10 feet from the impact. What are the odds?"

Another resident in the area, Jerald Guajardo, said he was banging on the windows and knocking on the door of the home, trying to make sure everyone was OK. He said he got a Chihuahua out of the house safely.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and FAA along with coroner's officials were expected to arrive later to investigate.

When Sky5 was overhead earlier, an entire room of the house could be seen from the aerial footage, its interior exposed by the missing roof that collapsed on one side of the home. Smoke was still rising from the charred remains of the structure at 11:50 a.m.

The FAA initially indicated the plane was flying from Palm Springs International Airport to Torrance Municipal Airport and then changed that statement to say the plane was traveling from Torrance to Cable Airport. However, authorities have since clarified that the aircraft was actually leaving Cable Airport when the crash happened.

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