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Small burning plane crashes into the Yuba River

A small plane crashed in the Yuba River near Marysville Sunday morning, the Yuba County Sheriff's Department reported.

The pilot, Timothy Bennett, was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Around 9 a.m. Sunday morning, someone shooting on private property near the river heard a small explosion and then spotted a plane on fire falling from the sky. The plane had been circling the area prior to the crash, the witness said.

The witness called the Sheriff's Deartment to report the crash into the river west of Sycamore Ranch in Browns Valley, the department said in a press release.

The plane was in about 3 feet of water in a side channel of the Yuba River when officers arrived on scene. Bennett, 66, had climbed out of the cockpit and was sitting on top of the aircraft, which was a Piper Cub plane. Often painted chrome yellow, Piper Cubs are popular lightweight aircraft.

Bennett had taken off from the Lincoln airport and was reportedly on a recreational flight to take in the scenery.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter crew brought Bennett to shore and he was then taken by ambulance to a Sacramento-area hospital, the Sheriff's Department said.

The initial investigation found that Bennett's plane struck power lines in the area and knocked out power to about 16 homes. PG&E responded to the scene and was working on repairs as of 1 p.m. Sunday. The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash and Yuba County officials are working on moving the plane, the Sheriff's Office said.

Ellen Garrison: (916) 321-1920, @EllenGarrison