Small plane crashes in backyard of Southern California home

HEMET, Calif. (AP) — A small plane crashed into the backyard of a Southern California home on Tuesday and the pilot was hospitalized with critical burn injuries, authorities said.

The fiery crash happened around 9:35 a.m. in the city of Hemet, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

The pilot, the plane’s sole occupant, was driven to a nearby hospital and later flown to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center’s burn unit in critical condition, officials said.

Eugene Barron, who lives next door, said he and another neighbor used a garden hose to douse the fire. He said the pilot was conscious and speaking after being consumed by flames.

“I just pray that he lives because he was … covered in fire,” Barron told CBS Los Angeles.

Two people who were in the house were unharmed, Fire Chief Eddie Sell said.

The Beechcraft 77 appeared to have crashed through a cinder-block wall and into the backyard, according to TV news images.

The cause of the crash was under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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