Bystander recounts efforts to help rescue survivors from burning home
By Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson
Nadin and Tom Abbott also contributed to this report.
Photo, left: Screenshot off video by ECM news partner 10 News
October 11, 2021 (Santee) – A plane has crashed near Santana High School close to the intersection of Greencastle and Jeremy, setting homes nearby on fire.
Two fatalities are confirmed and two others have been transported to a hospital with injuries.
A temporary evacuation point has been set up at the Cameron Family YMCA at 10123 Riverwalk Drive, Santee, for families displaced by the crash.
Santana High tweeted that all students are safe and a secure campus order has been lifted.Students are being allowed to leave if they have no afternoon classes.
An ECM reporter witnessed body parts on roofs and scattered across the neighborhood, adding to the trauma facing residents.
Stephanie Diaz, another neighbor, says the crash occurred at 12:12. "It was just like in the movies," she said of the sound, adding that the whole house shook.
David Witthoft said he used to work on military jets as a mechanic. He said he was in the house when "I heard the pilot go full throttle, and then I heard it hit the ground" with a loud boom. His house filled with smoke and the stench of burning debris, he added.
Numerous homes in the area suffered damage ranging from blown-out windows to cracked solar panels, in addition to two homes destroyed by fire.
Hillcreek Elementary also alerted parents/ guardians that they were "safe and sound."
San Diego Sheriff asks that the public avoid the area. A Hazmat team has been dispatched.
There are reports of a box truck also damaged by the crash.