According to newly acquired audio, an air traffic controller is heard encouraging the pilot to “climb immediately” in the last seconds before the tragic crash of a small plane.
On Monday, the twin-engine Cessna C340 crashed in a neighborhood in Santee, California, near San Diego, killing at least two people and injuring two more.
At around 12.15 p.m. local time, the plane, flying from Yuma, Arizona to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego, collided with two residences and a UPS delivery vehicle near Santana High School.
A doctor from Yuma, Arizona, was one of the two on the flight. He was Yuma Regional Medical Center doctor Sugata Das, according to KYMA. “Outstanding cardiologist and committed family guy” was how his friends and family described him.
UPS reported the death of one of their drivers earlier in the day on Monday. Their statement said: “We are devastated by the death of our employee, and send our heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends.
“We also want to express our deepest sympathies to the victims’ families and friends, as well as everyone else affected.”
KUSI has obtained the final audio transmission between the pilot of the crashed plane and the Socal tower moments before it went down. pic.twitter.com/cYRbkFeip0
— KUSI News (@KUSINews) October 12, 2021
The two-engine Cessna C340 crashed into a residential neighborhood about 12:15 p.m., according to authorities. The devastation was significant, and two more people were airlifted to area hospitals for treatment. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident. A fire official described the situation as “brutal.”
Owned by Das, the jet was on its way from Yuma to San Diego’s Montgomery-Gibb Executive Airport. “I felt the impact. Things shook. I didn’t know if it was an earthquake or what,” a woman who lives near the accident told the news.
“Two-two golf…climb immediately, maintain 4,000.” the controller says, referring to the tail number N7022G and altitude.
Das’ replies are incomprehensible, but the controller says they are becoming increasingly urgent: “It looks like you are descending, sir. I need to make sure you are climbing, not descending. Zero two-two golf, say altitude.”
He went on to say: “Low altitude alert. Climb immediately. Climb the airplane, maintain 5,000, expedite climb, climb the airplane, please.
“You appear to be descending again,” he went on, adding: “What is your altitude?”
According to witnesses, the plane crashed at the Greencastle Street junction, its wing hit a UPS truck near a stop sign, killing the driver, and the fuselage rolled toward two residences before exploding.