Neighbors Help Pilot After Hearing 'Loud Boom' from Small Plane Crash on California Street

"If he had gone another two feet that could've [been] hit and gone into our house," said neighbor Michelle Hilliard

  • Neighbors rushed to help a pilot after his single-engine plane crashed in California on Sunday, April 28

  • "No homes were impacted and no one on the ground was injured," Heartland Fire & Rescue tells PEOPLE

  • The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating

Neighbors came together to help a pilot after his small plane crashed in California this week.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the single-engine Bellanca Viking crashed into a residential neighborhood in El Cajon around 6:15 p.m. local time on Sunday, April 28.

"Only the pilot was on board," the agency added. "The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide any updates."

In audio obtained by CBS affiliate KFMB, the pilot told air traffic controllers that the plane had run into engine trouble and he'd lost oil pressure.

Related: Pilot Dies in Fiery Plane Crash in Parking Lot of Texas Shopping Mall

Heartland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief John Nevin told NBC affiliate KNSD that the plane was headed for Gillespie Field, about 2.5 miles away from the crash scene.

Neighbor Michelle Hilliard told KFMB that she heard a loud bang and saw the plane in her front yard.

"We hear [planes] all the time circling," she added. "You hear them go 'sput sput sput' as it's getting ready to land. We're always like 'It's not gonna crash, it's not gonna crash.' This time it did."

Related: Newlyweds, 30 and 33, Die in Plane Crash on Scenic Colo. Honeymoon They Were 'Documenting Online'

Her husband and others ran out to help the pilot, noting that he was alert and talking.

"We are so lucky," Hilliard said. "We have this power pole right here, if he had gone another two feet that could've [been] hit and gone into our house."

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"No homes were impacted and no one on the ground was injured," Andy McKellar with Heartland Fire & Rescue told PEOPLE in a statement. The aircraft cut several power lines as it came down. SDG&E were requested to secure the downed power lines."

Related: 2 Passengers Survive Small Plane Crash That Ended in Fiery Blaze on North Carolina Highway

The pilot had moderate injuries and was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital for further evaluation, McKellar added.

Brody Botts, another neighbor who came to the rescue, told KNSD that he had just finished dinner when the lights went out and he heard a "loud boom."

"I’ve been in the off-road world my whole life, we’ve done a lot of safety and first aid. It’s just a fight or flight response," he added.

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