A small plane has burst into flames after crashing just east of the runway at the Hayward airport at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The pilot was the only person on board the aircraft and he was able to walk away with just one leg of his trousers torn. He was checked out at the scene by ambulance personnel as a precaution.
A surveillance camera caught the moment of impact. The motion-activated camera turned on as soon as the plane crashed and caught the impact from just a few feet away. The images (which you can view below) show a flush of black smoke and the beginning of the grass fire which was sparked by the crash.
The FAA identified the plane as a twin-engine B-200 Beechcraft KingAir.
From the looks of the torched plane, that pilot is very lucky to have had an exit option. The plane is a total loss.
A man who spoke to the pilot in the moments after the crash, said he was able to get out before it caught on fire.
The plane had 200 gallons of fuel on board. Helicopter footage from the scene showed that fuel burning hot and fast in the minutes after the crash, including at least one fireball-type explosion.
The plane, which was taking off from Hayward and heading up the Peninsula to San Carlos, landed next to the runway and on top of some train tracks. Google maps identified the tracks as Union Pacific and are used to move heavy equipment.
Fire crews were at the scene within minutes. When they first arrived they said they were not sure if everyone had been able to get out of the plane, but after using a special device to clear the cockpit they were able to tell no one was inside. The plane seats ten.
Firefighters were able to put out the fire on the plane in about a half hour. They continued to work on a small grass fire, also sparked by the crash, a little while longer. And if that wasn't enough for crews to deal with, a nearby rail car also caught on fire following the crash.
A witness told KCBS Radio that the plane had just taken off when he noticed it experienced some kind of problem. He said it was returning to the airport when it crashed.
The FAA says the pilot told them the plane started to drift left and then pushed down and left before crashing. He told the FAA he has been flying for twenty years.
The plane is registered to Henry Broadcasting Company out of San Francisco.
The airport, located at 20301 Skywest Drive, has been indefinitely shut down because of the crash, the airport employee said.