Four people were killed Sunday when the small airplanes they were in collided in the skies over North Las Vegas Airport, authorities said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said each single-engine aircraft had two people on board. There was no indication from local first responders that anyone on the ground was killed or injured.
A Piper PA-46 was preparing to land when it struck a Cessna 172, FAA spokesperson Eva Lee Ngai said in a statement.
“The Piper crashed into in a field east of Runway 30-Right and the Cessna fell into a water retention pond,” she said.
North Las Vegas police received the first reports of the crashes at 12:04 p.m., Officer Alexander Cuevas said.
The FAA said the planes collided in the “traffic pattern” — the virtual roadway in the sky — associated with the airport run by the government of Clark County, Nevada.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate with the help of the FAA.
Midair collisions are rare, but not unprecedented.
One of the worst took place in 1978, when a Cessna 172 with two people on board collided with a passenger jetliner above the San Diego community of North Park. All 137 people on the two planes, along with seven people on the ground, perished.
Maya Brown contributed.