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July 8, 2011
A single-engine plane crashed in Watsonville, California, on Thursday night, killing both people on board.
The crash occurred around 7:30 p.m., moments after take-off from Watsonville Airport. The 1974 Mooney M20 went down in a parking lot near Watsonville Community Hospital and skidded 50 to 75 yards into the front of an unoccupied office building that belonged to the hospital. The plane then reportedly exploded and became engulfed in flames.
Witness Thomas Arnold, who was in the parking lot just before the crash, told the Seattle Post Intelligencer that the plane slanted down just 15 feet above his head.
“I saw two faces and two big sets of eyes,” said Arnold of the plane’s occupants.
Another witness, George Benson, told the McClatchy-Tribune News Service that he saw the plane take off and try to climb above a line of fog.
"[The pilot] was heading toward the coast and tried to climb," said Benson, who is a pilot. "From the time he took off he was going too steep, too slow. He spun to the left and you can see where the impact was.”
Benson refers to a chunk of asphalt missing from the parking lot. The plane reportedly slammed into the parking lot, which sent the propeller flying and ripped part of the wing off.
“[The pilot] didn't have any time for recovery," said Benson.
The cause of the crash is not yet known. It is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
No one on the ground was hurt.
This was the second fatal plane crash in California this week. On Sunday, a Cessna C180 crashed in Ventura County, killing two.
What do you think caused this California aviation accident?
If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, contact the national aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy.
Photo courtesy of The Associated Press
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