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Fiery Small Plane Crash Kills 2 In Eastern Contra Costa Co.

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Aerial view of the wreckage of a small plane in a field near Discovery Bay, October 23, 2012. (CBS)

Aerial view of the wreckage of a small plane in a field near Discovery Bay, October 23, 2012. (CBS)

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BYRON (CBS SF) — Two people were killed in a plane crash near Brentwood Tuesday afternoon, a Contra Costa County sheriff’s spokesman said.

Deputies responded to a report of a plane down in a field near Marsh Creek Road and Byron Highway, several miles north of the Byron Airport, just after 2 p.m., sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

Emergency responders found the plane on fire in the field, and fire crews extinguished it, Lee said.

It was originally believed that only one person had died in the crash, but crews examining the wreckage Tuesday evening discovered a second body, Lee said.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

The plane that crashed was an experimental Glasair III, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The home-built plane – a two-seat, fixed-wing single-engine aircraft – was registered to DSB Inc., located in Fernley, Nevada, according to the FAA.

Pilots from the area have told Keith Freitas, director of airports for Contra Costa County, that they believe the plane came from a nearby private airstrip called Funny Farm Airport.

The airstrip, located near Penny Lane just outside of Brentwood, has been around for several decades, Freitas said.

The owner of the airstrip appears to be the same person to whom the plane is registered, based on FAA records.

Joshua McLean, 19, said he witnessed the plane fall from the sky after hearing the engine whirring overhead.

Glasair III plane

A Glasair III plane. (Glasair Aviation)

“It was about 1,500 feet off the ground and corkscrewing toward the ground,” McLean said.

“It seemed as though he had just lost control of the plane,” said McLean, whose family operates a farm next to the crash site. “I didn’t see the impact because it was below the tree line.”

“When it hit the ground, you could feel the rumble,” he said.

The plane came to rest in a neighbor’s property. McLean said he drove to the crash site and called 911.

“From the nose to the tail, the plane was almost completely gone,” he said of the wreckage. “There was just the tail and smoke and fire coming from it.”

Emergency responders arrived about five minutes after McLean got to the scene as local farmers gathered to watch, he said.

McLean said the plane landed in a field that was tilled and prepared for the planting of tomatoes next spring.

The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating to determine the cause of the crash, Gregor and Lee said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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