AUGUST 9, 2015
A single-engine plane crashed and burned today as it attempted to tow a banner out of Compton-Woodley Airport. The plane crashed at about 12:30 p.m. on a runway at the county-owned airport about two miles southwest of Compton's central business district.
Dennis Lord, a commissioner with the Los Angeles County Aviation Commission, said the aircraft that crashed was attempting to tow a Bud Light banner.
The pilot, whose name was not released, died at the crash site. He was the only person aboard the plane, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. A second person suffered minor injuries during a rescue attempt.
Witnesses said the pilot made several failed attempts at swooping down and hooking the banner before the crash. "The pick up of the banner seemed to be pretty routine. What happened after he attached to the banner is to be determined by the National Transportation Safety Board," he said.
Good Samaritan Michael Robinson said he watched the pilot struggle to get ahold of the banner, eventually losing control of the plane over the runway and hitting the ground. A few seconds later, Robinson, who is also a pilot, says the plane caught fire. He and five others raced to the wreckage to try and help the pilot, who was trapped inside.
Another good Samaritan, Enkone Goodlow, said fire extinguishers weren't enough, so members of the pilot's banner crew drove a crash truck to the wreckage. But none of the first six good Samaritans were airport employees. "No one knew how to work the truck, so I'm like no, we have to save a life. I jumped in the back of the truck, I took off the hose," Goodlow said.
Lord said all three employees working at the airport were trained to work the crash truck, but two were out to lunch when the banner plane crashed. The third did not see the crash, Lord said.