Less than a week after a fatal plane crash in Florida, one passenger on a single-engine airplane was killed when the aircraft crashed in a Costco parking lot in San Diego, California on Wednesday. Unlike the crash earlier in the week where the pilot could not make it back to the airport after reporting a malfunction of the aircraft, the crash in San Diego occurred after the pilot touched down on the airport runway.
Helicopter pilot Vince Carter was in the area of a City of San Diego operated general aviation airport, Montgomery Field, and reported that the pilot informed the tower that the plane was going down after losing power. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman, Ian Gregor, the small plane bounced when attempting to land.
After bouncing, the plane continued across California State Route 163 and is reported to have clipped the top of a Target retail store. The plane continued on, knocking down a light pole prior to coming to a halt in the parking lot of a Costco store. According to San Diego Fire Department spokesman, Lee Swanson, the plane caught fire and two people on the ground rushed in to try to help the pilot and passenger.
The pilot, a 52-year old woman, and her 78-year old passenger, also female, were both rushed to Sharp Memorial Hospital with major injuries. The current status of the pilot has not been released, however, the San Diego area hospital released that the one passenger was killed by the injuries suffered in the crash. The two who rushed to the airplane in hopes of helping suffered minor burns. One was treated at the scene while the other was transported to the hospital to receive treatment for their burns.
According to a statement from family members to NBC 7 one of the people aboard the plane was Devon Logan of Point Loma, California and was one of the registered owners of the plane. The other registered owner is William Logan, and he was not aboard the plane for this flight. At this time, it is not known if the Logan aboard was the pilot or passenger.
Carter stated that he was impressed with the skill of the pilot. The aircraft could easily of ended up crashing into the Target store full of customers. The helicopter pilot felt the pilot of the single-engine craft made the right choice on where to point the plane, or else there may have been many more people injured or killed. Carter stated that in this worst case scenario, the pilot picked the perfect spot to avoid a lot of injuries or deaths.
However, the plane crash was not the perfect ending anyone would have wanted, with the only passenger killed after the plane crashed so close to the San Diego airport. The FAA along with the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash and a preliminary report may be released in the next couple weeks. Following the preliminary report, it could take the NTSB months to determine an explanation for the deadly crash.
By Carl Auer