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4 dead after small plane crashes in Southern California

Firefighters responding to the crash near El Cajon, some 15 miles east of San Diego, were unable to locate any survivors, officials said.

Four people were aboard a business jet that crashed into a San Diego suburb Monday night, and local rescue officials said they found no survivors in the fiery wreckage.

In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the "fatal" California crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

First responders were called to the scene in the area of El Cajon, just over 15 miles east of San Diego, at around 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET), the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

When they arrived, firefighters were not able to locate any survivors, the department said.

In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said the Learjet 35 took off from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana and was headed 90 miles south to San Diego when it crashed on its descent toward Gillespie Field Airport, located in El Cajon, according to a record of the incident.

Image: Debris and small fires after a plane crash in El Cajon area of San Diego, Calif., Dec. 27, 2021.
Debris and small fires can be seen after the small plane crashed close to El Cajon, east of San Diego, Calif.Courtesy Travis McAbee

It is still unclear what caused it to crash. However, chilling live air traffic control audio appears to capture the scene onboard the aircraft in the moments before the plane plummeted to the ground.

In the audio, the apparent pilot of the plane can be heard communicating with air traffic controllers. At first, they appear to be calm, but moments later, a voice can be heard shouting before breaking out into a scream.

No one was hurt on the ground, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Early Tuesday, the San Diego County Sheriff confirmed in tweets that the fire caused by the plane crash had been extinguished and offered "deepest sympathies" to the loved ones of those who died in the crash.

At least one home was damaged in the incident, with power lines also knocked down, affecting dozens of homes.

Image: An SDG&E worker stands nears an emergency vehicle after a plane crash in El Cajon area of San Diego, Calif., Dec. 27, 2021.
An emergency worker stands nears a vehicle after the crash.KNSD

The sheriff's department said night that San Diego Gas and Electric crews were on the scene working to restore power to nearly 70 customers in the area.

Anyone with photos or videos of the plane crash has been asked to send them to