Pilot killed after plane crashes, erupts in flames near freeway in Santa Clarita

California

The site of a plane crash in the Santa Clarita area on Jan. 4, 2019, is seen in a photo shared by KTLA viewer Julia Morales.

SANTA CLARITA (KTLA) – A pilot was killed after a small plane crashed and erupted in flames near the northbound 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita Saturday morning, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

Firefighters responded to the downed plane near the Newhall Avenue off-ramp following reports of an “aircraft emergency” at about 10:10 a.m.

Photos and video posted online show flames and a thick cloud of black smoke billowing over a grassy area near the roadway.

Courtney Gonzales, who was hiking in the area at the time, told KTLA she saw the plane nose-dive down, clip a tree and crash near the freeway.

“The next thing we saw was a big black cloud of smoke,” she said.

The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

California Highway Patrol has closed a northbound lane of the freeway as well as the Newhall Avenue off-ramp for an unknown duration.

No further details were immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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