By Carlos Castaneda, Jose Martinez
The pilot of a small plane was killed after it crashed into a busy intersection near Buchanan Field Airport in Concord late Tuesday morning.
The Van’s Aircraft RV-6 single-engine plane crashed at about 10:30 a.m. and came to rest at the intersection of Concord Ave. and Diamond Boulevard near the southern end of the airport runway.
The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) confirmed the pilot was deceased and was the only person on the plane.
“Crews responded for an off-airport rescue that involved airport rescue crews as well,” said Battalion Chief Kevin Platt. “Found one airplane down in the intersection behind us. The plane was confirmed to have one occupant and one fatality.”
Authorities have not released any details about the pilot. Platt said that given the proximity of businesses and homes in the area, the crash could have been much worse.
“Immediately off the airport are hotels, commercial businesses, car dealerships. Eventually, we run into residences. So it’s a regular community around it. The community begins directly adjacent to the airport,” Platt explained. “So we were fortunate that the aircraft was on a roadway.”
A vehicle on the ground was also involved in the crash and the driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Con Fire said.
CBS News Bay Area spoke to witnesses who saw the frightening crash.
“I was standing over there loading my truck, and I heard the “Pop, pop, pop!’ And [it] went straight down, and then, ‘Boom!'” said eyewitness Wayne Edwards who claimed that same pilot frequently performed stunts. “Luckily, he didn’t hit any cars or buildings … I’ve seen him for years, doing stunts. He flies every day, and he didn’t make it this time.”
“It definitely put stuff into perspective,” said Alex Williams who works at a nearby car dealership. “Things could happen really quickly … it’s a scary situation.”
On December 23, 1985, a small plane lost control while trying to land at Buchanan Field and crashed onto the roof of a Macy’s department store at Sunvalley Shopping Center in Concord, killing the pilot and two passengers and injuring dozens of Christmas shoppers. Four people on the ground later died of their injuries.
More recently, a January 2018 crash of a single-engine Cessna 152 at the Military Ocean Terminal Concord (MOTCO) killed the pilot shortly after taking off from the airport. In October 2016, a Beechcraft Bonanza crashed into a hill near Kirker Pass Road after taking off from the airport, killing two people.
In December 2006, four people died when a Piper Malibu crashed on approach to the airport after coming in too low, hitting the median of state Highway and crashing just north of the runway. Other non-fatal plane crashes near the airport occurred in 2004 and 2017.
Following Tuesday’s fatal crash, Concord police closed Concord Avenue between Contra Costa Boulevard and Meridian Park Boulevard. The Pleasant Hill Police Department issued a later traffic advisory, stating that additional road closures related to the plane crash included eastbound Chilpancingo Parkway from Contra Costa Boulevard to the affected area.
Shortly after the crash, police said residents should expect road closures for up to 12 hours. A later update from Concord Police indicated the road closures would stay in place until Wednesday afternoon and would definitely impact the morning commute.
The crash was being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.