LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - Three people aboard a small plane were killed Sunday when a wing clipped a tree and crashed in the Santa Ana mountains, off the Ortega Highway near Lake Elsinore, authorities said.
Firefighters were dispatched at 9:22 a.m. to an area near the Lookout Roadhouse restaurant, in the 32100 block of Ortega Highway, in response to a small fire.
The Riverside County Fire Department confirmed the fatalities. Cal Fire reported that one of the plane's wings had clipped a tree, causing the single-engine aircraft to crash.
The fire was sparked by a Piper PA28 Cherokee airplane, which crashed into a cliff. Its tail number would not be released until relatives of the three people were notified, the Federal Aviation Administration reported.
Witness Alan Scott told ABC7 the plane appeared to lose power when it barely cleared power lines and tried to ``climb'' upwards.
It's not certain if wind played a role in the crash, according to ABC7.
There were no other reports of injuries or fatalities. The fire was contained to less than an acre, authorities said.