On late Friday afternoon, a plane crashed in northern Livermore, killing the pilot and starting an acre-wide brush fire.
According to FAA (Federal Aviation Association) investigators and nearby witnesses, the now-wrecked plane took off from a Livermore Airport around 5 p.m. before quickly crashing into a field only 2 or 3 miles away from the airport. According to eyewitnesses the plane appeared to be on fire before its crash.
When emergency personnel responded to the scene, they found a burning and nearly destroyed plane spreading flames across the dry field, and the deceased pilot around 300 feet away from the crash site. At this point, investigators are not sure if the pilot survived the crash and attempted to flee the burning plane, but are relatively confident that they were killed on impact, and thrown from the wreckage.
The fire caused by the crash spread across the field off of North Livermore Road, but was quickly put out in a combined effort between Cal Fire, the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, and Cam Parks.
The plane itself was most likely an experimental kit plane; a ¾ replica of a World War II fighter plane. This information coupled with evidence of a replicated wood frame and fabric skin found at the scene confirmed this to investigators. According to the FAA, the investigation into the cause of fire in the plane and the subsequent crash is ongoing. The deceased pilot has yet to be identified.
This tragic accident highlights not only the accident rates of twin-engine, prop, and experimental planes, but the growing dangers of brush fires in the Bay Area, especially in dry and hot summer months. If the plane had crashed in a less cloistered area, the flames from the wreckage could still be burning.
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