A pilot has died, as an experimental plane he was flying crashed and sparked a brush fire in a field in Alameda County near Livermore Saturday afternoon, a fire battalion chief said.
According to Federal Aviation Administration official Allen Kenitzer, the small aircraft, described as an experimental Loehle Mustang, crashed in a field about 2 to 3 miles northeast of Livermore near I-580 shortly after departing from Livermore Municipal Airport.
The crash was reported near North Livermore Avenue just north of Interstate Highway 580 shortly before 5 p.m., Alameda County fire Battalion Chief John Walsh said.
Sheriff's deputies have identified the pilot as 63-year-old Jerry Parker from Livermore.
When emergency crews arrived at the wreckage, the pilot, who was the only person on board, was declared deceased at the scene, according to the fire battalion chief.
J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Department said Parker was killed instantly.
"At some point, he got out of the plane, and we don’t know whether he jumped or was thrown out of the plane, but he was not in the plane when it crashed," he said. "His body was found 300 yards away.”
Investigators have now determined Parker was killed when he jumped out of the plane as it was about to crash.
The crash sparked a brush fire that reached about 1.5 acres, before it was contained at 5:17 p.m., Walsh said.
A Loehle Mustang is a type of plane typically constructed from a kit and includes a wood fuselage and a fabric cover. Deputies said all that is left of the plane is a motor and some small parts.
The cause of the plane crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
No other injuries have been reported.