California city Santa Monica reports Citi Southern California city Santa Monica

2 dead after plane slams into runway in CA

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Witnesses reported seeing a small plane make a hard landing at a Southern California airport, immediately take off again and then climb erratically before slamming into the runway nose-first, killing both people on board, according to a preliminary report.

A flight instructor and a student pilot were in the single-engine Piper Sport when it crashed and caught fire around 5 p.m. on Sept.

8 at Santa Monica Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released Thursday. There was 45 minutes of instruction on the ground before the pair took off for a flight to Malibu and back that lasted just over an hour, the report said.

The plane came in for a landing that witnesses described as "hard" and then "began to aggressively pitch up and climb, while the engine made a sound consistent with it going to full power," according to the report. "All the witnesses provided similar accounts of the airplane continuing to climb in a nose up attitude, before leveling off at the apex of the climb, then spinning to the left, descending, and colliding with the ground," the report said.

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