A small plane with a pilot and one passenger on board made a crash landing in Costco's parking lot after it clipped the top of a Target store. The plane came to rest on its belly and it caught fire near Costco's loading dock. An 80-year-old woman passenger was badly burned and died from those burns at a local San Diego Hospital, according to News Max on July 31.
The 52-year-old woman pilot was also burned and seriously injured, but she is expected to live. The plane landed in a desolate area of a Costco parking lot near a loading dock that was not in use at the time of the crash. Luckily no one on the ground was near the plane as it came down.
The plane caught fire on final impact and about 20 people came out to help, some with fire extinguishers. They were able to put out the fire before it hit the fuel tank.
Once the fire was out the people who had gathered around the area pulled the two women out of the plane. Both suffered major burns from this accident, along with scrapes and bruises.
One man was burned and suffered scrapes after he helped put out the fire and helped with pulling the women out of the plane, but his injuries are “minor,” reports CBS News today. This crash could have been much worse if the plane had come down in the area of the parking lot that was filled with cars and shoppers.
A helicopter pilot who was in the air at the same time the single-engine 1988 Mooney M-20L plane experienced trouble said he heard the pilot radio-in just after takeoff. She told the tower that her plane had lost power and she was going down.
The plane came down in the populated Kearny Mesa neighborhood. The helicopter pilot, Vince Carter, believes it was the skilled pilot who is responsible for putting the plane down in an area where she wouldn’t injury people on the ground.
Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration gave a contradicting account of the crash landing than the one coming from the helicopter pilot. It was Carter who heard the pilot’s transmission to air traffic control, saying that she had lost power.
Gregor said that the plane “bounced” during a landing at Montgomery Field and then continued going westbound before coming down. It is not immediately known which description of the crash is correct.
After clipping the top of Target, the plane hit a light pole, knocking it down. That impact with the light pole spun the plane around. The plane then landed in a fairly desolate area by a loading dock without people or vehicles around at the time.
The accident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration today.