A small plane crashed near BART tracks in Hayward just before noon Sunday, killing the pilot, BART police said.
The crash of the small Piper PA23 aircraft with a 20-foot wingspan caused a small fire near the 1000 block of Whipple Avenue. Fire crews were able to quickly contain the blaze, according to officials.
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration said it appeared the pilot took off from Hayward Executive Airport, about 4 miles north of the crash site, and attempted to return to the airport.
Witnesses Will and Sara Smith saw the plane go down, saying the pilot made a conscious effort to avoid crashing into nearby houses.
"When we saw that he was going down, we could see that the propellers weren't working, we saw that he was trying to keep clear of the homes," Will Smith said.
Other witnesses reported seeing an explosion when the plane crashed. Neighbors said people rushed toward the crash scene to help the pilot, but it was too late.
The pilot's identity is not known. He was the only one on board the five-seat plane, the FAA confirmed. No other injuries were reported.
The plane is registered to a 60-year-old man out of Hawaii who also has an address in Fremont, according to the FAA. Records show the man bought the plane in September.
BART service was stopped at the Union City and Fremont stations, and a bus bridge was made available to transport passengers. The stations reopened just before 2:30 p.m.