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Aviation analyst on danger of living near small, neighborhood airports

Fatalities unlikely for homeowners below
Posted: 11:19 PM, Feb 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-05 08:08:29Z

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating after a small plane fell from the sky killing five people in Southern California. 

Officials say the pilot was a 75-year-old man from Nevada.  He was killed along with four people inside one home.

"It is extremely rare to have somebody on the ground killed or injured by an aircraft falling out of the sky," said Lt. Colonel John Nance, an Aviation Analyst for ABC World News.

Officials with the NTSB said the Cessna had just left a nearby airport before its rapid descent.

"All of the sudden we heard like the plane ... winding," said neighbor Leslie Krushat.

The pilot was reportedly the only person on board.

"We're flying over residential sections all the time," said Lt. Colonel Nance.

Nance says investigators will likely examine whether the pilot somehow became incapacitated.

"Any pilot who is having trouble with his airplane or her airplane is going to do their best not to hit anybody on the ground," said Nance.

That's just what we saw last month when a small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on Kyle Canyon Road. In 2017, a plane crashed into a pond near Ann Road and U.S. Highway 95.

No one was seriously injured in either incident.

In addition to McCarran International Airport, there's aircraft taking off and landing from facilities in North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Nellis Air Force Base.

Nance says it's doubtful for a plane crash to cause a fatality to a resident at home below.

"It also goes to the heart of why aviation takes a lot of care and feeding, and why, for instance, we want good air traffic controllers and pilots that are well trained," Nance said.