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Passenger in airplane crash recovering

FAA, NTSB officials investigating incident

Posted: March 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The passenger of a small plane that crashed Sunday on an Agua Dulce hilltop was recovering from minor injuries Monday at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

Danny Santana, 52, improved throughout the day Monday, having been reported in stable condition in the morning and upgraded to “good” by mid-afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said at 10 a.m. Monday.

The pilot, Davis Zeituni, 50, was taken to the hospital on Sunday, but was not listed there Monday.

Both men were found sitting on the hillside near the crash when paramedics found them Sunday night, said Supervisor Bernard Peters of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

A brush fire ignited as a result of the crash and burned about 10 acres but was fully extinguished by Monday morning, Peters said.

“We dumped water on it and now we’re just mopping up,” he said Monday morning.

At 6:37 p.m., officials at the Los Angeles County Fire Department received a 911 call from the pilot who said the small single-engine aircraft was in trouble, a spokesman for the department said.

At 6:52 p.m., emergency crews responded to the scene in Agua Dulce.

The plane crashed near Sierra Highway and Steele Road, about a mile north of the pilot’s home and business and about the same distance from the Agua Dulce Airpark.

Paramedics, ready for the worst, were stymied in their attempts to climb the steep hillside on Steele Road.

A rescue had to be carried out from the air, Peters said.

At 8:12 p.m., a helicopter landed near the burning wreckage, he said.

“The two men were sitting on a ridge top when the helicopter landed near them,” he said.

Both men were flown to the hospital in a flight that took just six to eight minutes, he added.

Zeituni, a licensed state contractor since 2001, owns and runs a successful hardwood flooring business out of his ranch-style home in Agua Dulce.

Santana resides at the same home on Bald Mountain Court.

According to a woman who answered phone numbers listed for both the company and the house, neither man would be talking to the media.

“We don’t want any interviews,” she said.

For the last 20 years, Zeituni’s business, the Z-Best Hardwood Construction Company, has been contracted throughout Los Angeles County.

Today, both men are lucky to be alive, according to officials.

Circumstances surrounding the crash were under investigation.

“The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating this accident,” said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.


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