Two people died Sunday after a small plane crashed on a road in Petaluma, according to the Petaluma Fire Department.
The single-engine plane, which went down about 4:05 p.m. on East Washington Street near Old Adobe Road, was trying to land at Petaluma Municipal Airport but came up short, according to an official with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Police said the plane had taken off from the airport moments earlier and was attempting to return.
The two people who died were the only occupants on the plane, and no one on the ground was injured, officials said.
The plane was registered to a Richard Bristow of Carmichael, California, near Sacramento. Bristow’s brother told NBC Bay Area it was Bristow flying the plane, and his wife was the passenger. But the two victims have not been officially identified by authorities.
Witnesses said they heard the plane make a popping sound, and then the engine sputtered before the plane went down.
Dominic Borgo and Micah Combs work at the golf course across the street from the airport. They said the plane was making strange noises right after takeoff.
"It was almost like it was choppy, like the motor was choppy and not fully running," Borgo said.
"We saw it as it was going up in the air, and we noticed that it was sputtering quite a bit," Combs added. "And then we saw it was quickly falling."
The crash occurred about a half-mile from the airport runway.
The crash is under investigation.