Private Plane Crashes, Erupts in Flames in La Verne

The pilot managed to escape the crash, fire department officials said.

A small private plane crashed and erupted into flames as it landed at Brackett Field Airport in La Verne Thursday afternoon.

The Cessna-type plane crashed into a fence and caught fire at 1:38 p.m., according to the La Verne Fire Department.

The pilot, who was the only person on board the aircraft, managed to escape the plane, fire officials said.

A witness said the pilot told him he was coming from Camarillo.

Ricardo Membreno was on his way back from lunch to work at Matrix Auto Detail steps away from where the airplane went down. He said he could not believe anyone could have survived this but then he spoke to the pilot, who simply walked away.

"Literally, as we were pulling over, the pilot jumps out and he is a little scuffed up but luckily he was OK," Membreno said.

Membreno said the pilot told him that he ran out of fuel as he came in for a landing, clipped an advertisement sign and then the plane flipped.

"Yeah, we were very happy to find that the pilot had exited the plane prior to it catching fire and exploding so he was awake, conscious, talking," said Lt. Chris Fenner of the La Verne Police Department.

Police said the man was taken to USC Medical Center as a precaution.

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