‘Went right into the living room’

A small plane crashed in a neighborhood in Monterey late Tuesday morning, engulfing at least one house in flames.

Several agencies, including Cal Fire and the Monterey County Regional Protection District, are on the scene in the Monterra Ranch neighborhood on Highway 68 near Monterey Regional Airport. A brush fire was extinguished, but fire crews remained at home to monitor the situation.

It is not yet known how many people were involved or injured. “We don’t know where the pilot is,” Monterey County Deputy Marshal Fire Dorothy Priolo said.

The house hit by the plane belongs to Roger and Julie Goulart, whose main residence is the Bay Area, Monterey County Weekly Report. Roger Goulart is a vice president of Coupa software, and the couple uses Monterey’s place as their second home.

The couple said weekly that no one was inside the residence at the time of the accident, although a guard in the neighborhood witnessed the incident.

“I saw the plane fly very low and heard some of the trees crackling,” Tony Trujillo told the weekly, “Then the plane hit the house. It went straight into the living room.”

Firefighters estimated about 60% of the residence was affected by the fire and aircraft debris started the additional spot fires in the area. Priolo said: “It’s clear whether the house can be repaired or not,”

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office said the plane was a Cessna with two engines. The small regional airport sees frequent flights to other regional airports around California. Data from FlightAware, a site that tracks aircraft, shows a flight that departed Monterey Regional Airport shortly before 10:40 am was only in the air a few minutes before tracking dropped out.

Air traffic control audio obtained from KSBW indicates the flight encountered a problem immediately after takeoff. “Low altitude alert. Climb immediately,” the controller says, followed by, “[the plane] is experiencing an emergency in flight. “

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the accident.

This is a developing story and will be updated as we learn more.

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