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Pilot in West L.A. Crash Identified

A corporate and securities law attorney from Westchester was flying the plane that took off from Santa Monica Airport and crashed on South Glendon Avenue.

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.

David Ewing August 12, 2012 at 07:28 PM
The Santa Monica airport brings danger to the community, although it seems to be the pilots who die. On the other hand, I didn't know Angel Flight flew out of SM Airport. So along with bringing danger, the airport also can save lives. It's great that people like McMillan volunteer their time and planes to help people in need. I hope others carry on. Blessings upon him.
Richard B August 13, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Condolences go out to the family and friends of Sean M. McMillan. He seemed like a nice man but perhaps this is a sign that the dangerous airport should close. Just too many lives lost and so much potential for so many more in this highly populated area.
Kris Gardikis August 13, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Flights are becoming lower and lower and the jets bigger and bigger.. I live in Culver off of Venice and Sepulveda and even I have noticed the increase in traffic of the SM airport. Sorry folks, but there is too much traffic and too many people for this wonderful old airport to be safe anymore.
Gene Evans August 30, 2012 at 06:02 PM
When people moved in the airport was there. Ther HAS NOT been an increase in traffic in the last few years. The increase has been in the number of complaints from enemys of the airport. Santa Monica has been trying for years to close this airport so they can exploit the land for other uses. Much of this has been settled in court, years ago, yet they continue to complain and set up groups to continue to closethe airport. Don't like the airport? Move away, just like you moved in there. If the FAA has the guts it will fight and win AGAIN. Maybe then some federal judge will issue a restraining order against further attacks on the airport. This is happening all over the country, developers and tax greedy municipalities join together to remove another valuable national resource so they can enrich themselves. The houses grew up around the airport, not the other way around. If the city is so concerned about the safty of the citizens, they should offer to buy out the malcontents and sell the homes to people who would sign a conditionary agreement not to sue or otherwise harass the airport. Many people, including close neighbors, love and want the airport ther. Some testified at previous hearings. Gene Evans, Big Bear California

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