A small, single engine aircraft crashed into the side of a hill shortly after takeoff on the night of January 28th, 2019, in Oceanside, California. One member of the crew was killed, while the other survived with injuries. No flight plan had been submitted for the flight and Oceanside Airport does not have an air traffic control tower.
A witness told the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that he saw the plane take off at around 8:52 PM, and heard a crashing sound shortly after, when he called the police. Due to thick fog, no wreckage was found until after 7 AM the next day.
It's quite obvious that the thick fog likely played a role in the accident - the automated airport weather observation showed only 1/4 mile of visibility and a cloud ceiling at the surface, with vertical visibility of 200 feet. It was also dark at the time of the incident, which would have likely reduced actual visibility further.
The aircraft crashed just below the ridge line (at about 200 feet) just west of the airfield.
The minimum allowable takeoff ceiling and visibility at Oceanside Airport is a ceiling of 300 feet and a visibility of 1 mile, which is far better conditions than what was observed at the time the aircraft was reported to have departed. Despite one of the pilots having certifications to fly in instrument conditions (low ceiling and visibility), these mandatory minimums for Oceanside Airport are published by the FAA and must be adhered to by all aviators.
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