Los Angeles Fire Department

Pilot Dies in Small Plane Crash Near Van Nuys Airport

The plane did not hit any buildings, cars or pedestrians during its descent

A small plane nose dived Friday into a San Fernando Valley intersection near the Van Nuys Airport, killing the pilot, authorities said.

Miraculously nobody else was hurt in the crash reported around 1:15 p.m. at Vanowen Street and Hayvenhurst Avenue, in Lake Balboa, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

"I couldn't get to the body," said Pat Gallegos. "He was long gone by the time that we got there."

The man was identified by the coroner's office as 47-year-old Alberto Enrique Behar of Scottsdale, Arizona.

No one else was on board the experimental plane, Sgt. Barry Montgomery with the Los Angeles Police Department.

The intersection was closed to traffic as emergency responders investigated the wreck. The plane did not hit any buildings, cars or pedestrians during its descent, Montgomery said.

"It absolutely could have been a lot worse," Montgomery said.

The plane is a single-engine Lancair that crashed under unknown circumstances, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

The runway at Van Nuys Airport was inspected following the crash and is operational, according to spokeswoman Mary Grady. Airport operations were not affected.

Witnesses said they didn't hear any noise before the crash.

"The engine wasn't on at all," said Cheryl Dickerson, who was with a neighbor near the crash site seconds before the crash. "He happens to look up and goes, 'Do you think he's going to make it?' I said, 'I don't know.'"

She said the plane glided silently for a few seconds before nose-diving — somehow managing to avoid hitting anyone.

Esther Lopez, who also witnessed the crash, said she often visits friends who live near the intersection, just south of the airport.

"We heard the loud 'boom!' and then it was, like, 'what was that?" she said.

Asher Klein contributed to this report.

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