Two people died Thursday in two Southern California plane crashes, one of which sparked a small brush fire on Santa Catalina Island.
At Penmar Golf Course in Venice, a small plane crashed near the eighth hole shortly after 6 p.m., officials said. The pilot of the single-engine Cessna 152 was pronounced dead at the scene, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
No one else was on the plane and no other injuries were reported.
A law enforcement source said the pilot may have been practicing landings at nearby Santa Monica Municipal Airport when the aircraft apparently developed engine problems. The plane had just taken off from the airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Earlier in the day, a pilot flying near Catalina's Airport in the Sky radioed controllers about 1 p.m. that he was possibly having a heart attack and might not make it to the runway, authorities said.
A few minutes later, the single-engine Cessna 182P plummeted into brushy terrain about two miles northeast of the airport, said Lt. Jeff Donahue of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The crash sparked a fire that spread to about 20 acres. Roughly 100 firefighters battled the blaze, cutting lines around the fire's flanks and dousing hot spots, officials said. They were aided by three helicopters that made repeated water drops.
As of Thursday evening, the blaze was 80% contained.
After beating back the flames, firefighters were able to make their way to the crash site, where they found the pilot's body, said Inspector Matt Levesque of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The pilot was the only one on the plane.
Authorities did not release the names of either of the victims. Federal investigators were responding to both incidents.