Families on Greencastle Street in Santee are far from the first in San Diego County to see their homes ignite and collapse after a plane crash.
NBC 7 Investigates has gone through more than 120 NTSB investigation reports and has unearthed at least 35 plane or helicopter crashes in San Diego County neighborhoods since 2010.
In these accidents, 30 people died and 20 others were seriously injured.
The airport linked to the lion’s share of these accidents is Gillespie Field in El Cajon – there have been at least 16 accidents in surrounding neighborhoods. After that comes Montgomery-Gibbs at Kearny Mesa with at least nine.
A neighbor’s security camera captured a crashing plane in Santee. The plane crashed east of Santana High School, killing at least two people.
It makes sense, Gillespie is one of the busiest small plane airports in our region with between 600 and 800 flights per day.
But where planes end up when they crash, it can be miles from any airport.
In 2010, a plane crashed into the tram line in El Cajon. Over the years, several of the San Diego County freeways have turned into emergency airstrips, as we saw on Interstate 5 near Del Mar just two months ago.
A witness filmed the moment the small plane fell and landed on I-5 tracks in Del Mar. NBC 7’s Mark Mullen and Catherine Garcia report.
A Santee owner saw his backyard turn into an accident site in 2015, as did a Clairemont Mesa owner two years later in 2017.
Accident sites included school playgrounds, Target parking lot, a crowded beach in Carlsbad on July 4, a golf course, near casinos and in office parks.
Sifting through the NTSB’s investigation files, NBC 7 Investigates reported several accidents related to the Borrego Springs airport. But we didn’t include them in our final analysis because we focused only on our county’s five small-plane tour airports: Brown Field, Gillespie Field, McClellan-Palomar, Montgomery-Gibbs, and Ramona.