Three people were confirmed dead in a small plane crash in the Lake Elsinore area of Southern California Sunday morning.
The call came in around 9:20 a.m. in the 32100 block of Ortega Highway, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
It was unknown whether there were more occupants in the plane at the time of the crash, said Jennifer Fuhrman of the Riverside County Fire Department.
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The vicitims were identified as 49-year-iold Doug Symiczek, 32-year-old Jacob Griffiths and 29-year-old Kyle Parton.
Homeowner Ed Nejad said he saw the plane flying low just above his property when it made a quick U-turn. Moments later, Nejad said it clipped a tree in his orchard. The wing broke off and the plane nose dived into a canyon about half a mile off Ortega Highway.
"I saw the tunnel of flames maybe 200 yards above and just called 911 right away," he said.
A vegetation fire caused by the crash was contained to one-tenth of an acre, Fuhrman said.
Several agencies were investigating the wreckage of the single-engine Piper PA28 in the rough terrain, including the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.
Nearly 70 firefighters and three helicopters responded to the plane crash Sunday, according to Cal Fire.
It's unclear whether the plane was taking off or flying into a nearby airport.
An online fundraiser has been set up for the families of the victims.
Jane Yamamoto contributed to this report.