Two people escaped from a plane that crashed and was on fire Sunday morning at the Kern Valley Airport, according to the Kern County Fire Department.

It happened at the airport in Kernville in the 10000 block of Sierra Way, where fire crews that were summoned found the plane, described as being a total loss. The occupants had already escaped before firefighters arrived.

According to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor, preliminary information indicates a single-engine Howard Aircraft DGA-15P experienced engine failure while taking off around 9:20 a.m. The fire department, however, put the time at about 8:40 a.m.

"The plane landed back on the runway and the main landing gear collapsed. The aircraft caught fire," Gregor wrote in an email.

The fire was brought under control in less than an hour, KCFD reported in a news release. Firefighters were expected to be at the scene for a few hours to mop up.

The two occupants of the plane weren't injured and were released, KCFD reported. No information on their identities was given.

No firefighters were hurt.

Fire officials said the airport would be closed to air traffic as the FAA investigates the cause of the crash, but did not give a timeline for reopening.

Gregor said by email that both the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. He said it typically takes NTSB a year or more to determine a probable cause of an accident.

The ​Kern Valley Airport website describes it as "a great little airport located just south of the mountain-sports town of Kernville, providing service for small private planes, an on-site cafe, on-site camping for pilots flying in, and minor maintenance."

(1) comment

Margo Pierce

Why did Bakersfield's own Senator Jean Fuller vote to cut funding for first responders? This woman needs a brain transplant

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