Southern California breaking news and trends

3 die in small plane crash in San Diego County

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Sheriff's Lt. Scott Amos says the single-engine plane went down Saturday morning within Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve near Santee, which is on the far right.

Authorities say three people were killed when a home-built airplane crashed in a San Diego County nature preserve.

Sheriff's Lt. Scott Amos says the single-engine plane went down Saturday morning within Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve near Santee. Amos says there were three people on board and all were killed.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the four-seat Lancair IV-P had departed from San Diego's Montgomery Field en route to Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix. The FAA withheld the aircraft's tail number until next of kin have been notified.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

The Lancair web site says the 25-foot IV-P is one of a series of aircraft kits that are no longer in production.


Mother of 5 fatally shot by Border Patrol agent stuck on her hood

Border Agents

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File photo of a Border Patrol agent's shoulder.

A Border Patrol agent fatally shot a 32-year-old mother of five Friday in suburban San Diego as he rode on the hood of her car after she ran into him, authorities and family members said.

The agent fired after being driven several hundred yards on the hood, Chula Vista police Capt. Gary Wedge told The Associated Press. The woman was later identified in a police statement as Valeria Alvarado.

The shooting occurred about five miles north of the Mexican border as plainclothes agents were looking to serve a felony warrant in the area to someone other than Alvarado, Border Patrol Deputy Chief Rodney Scott told U-T San Diego.

Scott said the agent was stuck atop the car as Alvarado drove.

"Fearing for his life, he discharged his weapon to get the vehicle to stop," Scott said. No other agents fired.


Over 1,300 tubes at San Onofre being taken out of service

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Grant Slater/KPCC

A cyclist rides past the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant on April 6, 2012.

The utility that runs the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California says over 1,300 damaged tubes in its ailing steam generators will be taken out of service.

The seaside plant between San Diego and Los Angeles has been offline for more than three months while investigators probe why hundreds of tubes in the virtually new equipment have eroded rapidly.

The figures released Tuesday come just days after a Southern California Edison executive said the company hopes to restart at least one of the twin reactors next month.

Federal regulators say there is no timetable for a restart, while activists charge the plant is unsafe.

Each of the four generators has nearly 10,000 tubes that carry radioactive water. The number retired is well within the limit allowed to continue operation.


Inspection at San Onofre finished, but no findings released yet

San Onofre Nuclear Plant

Grant Slater/KPCC

A runner passes by the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant on April 6, 2012.

Inspections of faulty tubes that caused the shutdown of two reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station have been completed, but findings are not yet being released, Southern California Edison said Friday.

Investigators are hoping that the inspections will pinpoint the cause of unusual wear in steam-generating tubes in Units 2 and 3, which was detected in January.

Findings from the inspections are being analyzed, SCE spokeswoman Jennifer Manfre said.

The inspections were undertaken at the behest of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which must give the go-ahead before the reactors come back online. It remains unclear when that may happen, Manfre added.

The tubes, which carry radioactive water, are being damaged by friction and vibration by neighboring tubes and bracing, but investigators do not know why that is occurring, especially as the equipment was only installed in 2009 and 2010.