The pilot killed in a crash of a single-engine Cessna in West Los Angeles was identified Sunday as a Harvard-trained attorney from Westchester.
Neighbors told several L.A. television stations that they have learned it was Sean M. McMillan, 70, an attorney with a large Century City law firm, who was killed while trying to guide his stricken aircraft back to the Santa Monica Airport after declaring an emergency on takeoff.
His identity has not been confirmed by the county coroner or the NTSB.
The high-wing plane narrowly missed high-voltage line, hit a palm tree, burst into flames and crumpled to the ground along the curb.
"I know for a fact Sean would have aimed his airplane at the last moment for an empty street,'' a neighbor, Charlie Fredricy told NBC4.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, McMillan radioed the Santa Monica tower and made a request to return to the airport for an unspecified emergency minutes before the plane went down.
Witnesses reported the plane coming down at slight angle just above the treetops, north of car-jammed Olympic Boulevard and east of Westwood Boulevard.
Apparently, the engine was not running.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are in charge of the probe.
McMillan was a veteran pilot who for about 20 years had volunteered his time and use of his plane to take ill children to hospitals on behalf of the nonprofit Angel Flight.
According the website of the national law firm Greenberg and Traurig, based in Century City with 1,750 lawyer in 30 locations, McMillan was a partner who earned his law degree at Harvard University.
He specialized in corporate and securities law.
Witnesses reported seeing the plane at treetop level and anticipating a crash. Several people captured video of the smoke and flames moments after the impact. The plane narrowly missed some high-voltage power lines. No people on the ground were injured, and no homes were damaged.