Cerritos, CA Jetliner Collides With Single-Engine Plane, Aug 1986
PLANES COLLIDE IN L. A.; 72 DEAD.
Cerritos, Calif. -- An AeroMexico DC-9 jetliner and a single-engine plane collided in flight Sunday and hurled into a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood, killing all 67 people aboard the planes and at least five people on the ground.
A wall of flame and burning debris howled through the upper-middle class subdivision 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The planes crashed just 8 miles from Disneyland and 3 miles from the Knott's Berry Farm amusement park.
One resident burned to death trying to save his $170,000 house with a garden hose.
In addition, police said, there was a possibility that a family of seven had also perished in another home, but it was unconfirmed.
Authorities said the planes were between 6,000 and 7,000 feet high when they collided. The Federal Aviation Administration would not comment on how they came to be in the same airspace, but one airport official said he understood the small plane "had every right to be there."
Part of the fuselage of AeroMexico Flight 498 came to rest on Carmenita Avenue after hurtling through a concrete retaining wall. It was the only recognizable piece of the DC-9 to be seen. Parts of bodies littered the manicured lawns and emergency workers rushed about covering them with yellow plastic bags.
"We know there were people in those homes and there could not be anybody alive in any of them," said Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief GORDON PEARSON. He said at least five residents were killed and nine injured.
An AeroMexico official said there were 58 passengers and six crew members aboard Flight 498 from Mexico City. "We are not aware of any survivors," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy DREW BASEY said.
The airliner destroyed at least 10 houses and damaged 20 more. The Piper Tomahawk, with three people in it, fluttered to earth in a nearby schoolyard. A woman's legs protruded from a window.
"My neighbors are dead! My neighbors are dead!" screamed a hysterical woman roaming through the grisly wreckage. "My cat is dead! The planes, my God, they disintegrated. Look at the torso over there. Oh my God."
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