Investigators were trying to determine Friday what caused a small plane to crash into a horse corral and burst into flames in northern Los Angeles County, killing three people and three horses.
The single-engine Cirrus SR22 went down at about 12:10 p.m. Thursday into a horse corral behind a barn in Agua Dulce, county fire Inspector Matt Levesque said. The plane caught fire but was quickly doused, he said.
The plane had departed from Van Nuys Airport and was headed to Parker, Ariz., when it went down, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The crash site was about a mile west of the Agua Dulce Airpark.
Three horses in the corral were killed and a fourth was injured, Levesque said.
Neighbor Scott Strickland told KCAL-TV he was inside his house when he heard a big explosion, then ran to the crash site.
"The two horses are on fire and I just see smoke everywhere," Strickland said. "I saw somebody yell 'grab a gun.' Somebody grabbed a gun, came over and put the horse out of his misery 'cause he was just on fire, you couldn't do much after that," he said.
The skies were overcast at the time of the crash, Gregor said.
The plane was registered to Ovation Management Inc. in Calabasas, according to FAA records. A number for the business was not listed, and a call Los Angeles business with the same name went unanswered.
The crash victims have not been identified, assistant coroner Ed Winter said.
The high-desert area about 30 miles north of Los Angeles is flanked by forest and the urban communities of Santa Clarita and Palmdale. It is near Vasquez Rocks, a local rock formation often used as a filming location for movies and TV shows.