SANTEE (CBS 8) – The identities have been released of the two people aboard a single engine plane that crashed into the driveway of a Santee home Thursday morning.
Jeffrey Michael Johnson, 50, of El Cajon and Robert C. Sarrisin, 59, of Rancho Penasquitos died after the Piper Cherokee plane they were in went down in front of a house on Paseo De Los Castillos around 9:15 a.m. Thursday. Sarrisin was pronounced dead at the scene and Johnson died later at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
"Every day, every hour, every minute, he is going to be missed. He was my biggest cheerleader. My best friend, and just always, always found the best in everything,," said Kevin Aylesworth, Johnson's business partner.
Authorities reported that Sarrisin was a flight instructor training Johnson to fly. The plane had just taken off from Gillespie Field and the pilot reportedly didn’t issue a Mayday call during the short flight. The crash site is less than one mile west of Gillespie Field.
"His students loved him. He was an excellent instructor. A good pilot, and he was a member of our family here. Anytime there is an aviation accident it hurts the entire aviation community," said Mike Robberts, from the Golden State Flying Club.
A witness at the scene reported that the plane clipped the roof of a home, flipped over and landed upside down, after crashing into a parked Hyundai Sonata and a pick-up truck. The plane also caught fire, which neighbors quickly extinguished.
“This one here was just a sputter sputter sputter and then a moment later it was the sound of crunching metal,” said Greg Thomas.
“I heard a big explosion and heard glass shattering everywhere and at first I thought it was a car crash, but then when I walked out I heard people screaming fire,” said 13-year-old Tommy McMornick who lives two doors down and was home sick from school at the time of the crash.
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Two years earlier, this same exact plane, which is registered to the Golden State Flying Club Aviation School, made an emergency landing on State Route 52, near highway 125.
Golden State Flying Club Aviation School representatives told CBS News 8 that in the past 47 years they have never experienced a fatality during a training session.