The plane was en route to nearby John Wayne Airport when the pilot declared an emergency and crashed around 12:30 pm local time in Santa Ana, near the South Coast Plaza shopping mall, the authorities said.
Ella Pham, 20, and her boyfriend were walking in the auto park on Sunday when they saw the crash, she told the Los Angeles Times.
The Cessna 414 is registered to an owner in San Francisco, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.
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The twin-engine Cessna was heading to the airport southeast of Los Angeles when it came down and struck an unoccupied parked auto in the lot of a Staples store and a CVS pharmacy, Orange County Fire Authority said. "This was a Sunday afternoon, and we have people shopping, so the fact that we have no injuries on the ground is a miracle in itself". East Bay woman ID'd as one of Southern California plane crash victimsGhanadan was a realtor at Pacific Union in Danville.
Images from the scene showed the wreckage of the jet in the middle of parked cars.
Bystanders told journalists they saw the plane falling nose-first.
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Fire authorities were called at 12:28 local time (19:28 GMT) after the small plane hit a parked red vehicle, while its owner was in a shop.
Referring to the pilot, Bommarito said: "If he did do anything that prevented him from going anywhere else that was more crowded, he did a great job".
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