• An employee of UPS died after the plane struck a delivery truck and two homes
  • Two others rescued from the houses on fire sustained burn injuries
  • The air traffic controller alerted the pilot that the plane was flying too low before the crash

Two people, including a doctor, died after a small plane crashed in a California neighborhood, hitting two houses and leaving a trail of destruction. At least two others, on the ground, were taken to a hospital with injuries.

The plane was on its way to Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego from Yuma, Arizona, when it crash-landed around 12.15 p.m. Monday. The plane was heading to land at the airport when it nosedived into the ground.

The twin-engine Cessna C340 aircraft owned by Dr. Sugata Das, a cardiologist from Arizona, plunged from the sky in an arc and smashed into a UPS delivery truck, a fire hydrant, and struck two homes in Santee, a suburb of 50,000 people, said city officials. A UPS employee died at the scene. Das, who may have been piloting the aircraft, also died in the crash, KOIN reported.

According to the report, when the aircraft was half-mile from the runway, an air traffic controller alerted the pilot that the plane was flying too low.

"Low altitude alert, climb immediately, climb the airplane," the controller said to the pilot, according to audio obtained by KSWB-TV. The controller then urged the pilot to climb to 5,000 feet but the aircraft remained at 1,500 feet. The controller again cautioned, "You appear to be descending again, sir."

Two others, believed to be from a home hit by the crash, sustained burn injuries, Santee Fire Chief John Garlow said. It is unclear how many people were on board the plane, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

People around the scene of the crash said their houses shook during the impact. Neighbors were able to rescue a couple believed to be in their 70s from one of the houses on fire. Michael Keeley, 43, helped a woman escape the burning house through an open window while other neighbors helped rescue her husband. The woman sustained burns on her forearm.

The crash set multiple cars and structures on fire. The blaze has since been extinguished.

"We are heartbroken by the loss of our employee, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We also send our condolences to the other individuals who are involved in this incident, and their families and friends," Steve Nagata, a UPS spokesman, said in a statement to USA Today.

The Yuma Regional Medical Center confirmed Monday that a cardiologist affiliated with the hospital is one of the fatalities.

"We are deeply sad to hear news of a plane owned by local cardiologist Dr. Sugata Das which crashed near Santee," the chief medical officer at YRMC, Dr. Bharat Magu said. "As an outstanding cardiologist and dedicated family man Dr. Das leaves a lasting legacy. We extend our prayers and support to his family, colleagues and friends during this difficult time."

small plane Cessna 182
A Cessna 182 plane | representational image. Manfred Schmid/Getty Images