On Wednesday, July 30, tragedy befell a small single engine aircraft taking off from Montgomery Field just north of San Diego. Thankfully, thanks to the pilot’s skills, no one on the ground was injured when the plane crashed in a busy shopping center during peak rush hour.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the cause of the crash, but pilots in the area said that the Mooney M20L’s pilot was executing a go-around after bouncing on a landing attempt. She reported problems immediately on takeoff, telling air traffic controllers that she was having a difficult time gaining altitude.
The 52-year-old pilot, who has yet to be identified, stalled the aircraft and landed flat, first clipping the roof of a Target store and light post, and coming to rest in a parking lot shared by Costco and Target in Kearny Mesa. The plane initially caught fire, but nearby Costco employees pulled the plane’s occupants out before people with fire extinguishers, and eventually firefighters, arrived to extinguish the flames.
The pilot and an 80-year-old woman were taken to a trauma center nearby with serious burns. The older woman was pronounced dead at the trauma center, and the pilot was reported to have very serious injuries. The employees who pulled the two women from the wreckage suffered minor injuries; one was treated at the scene, and the other received treatment at a hospital.
The NTSB reported that a privately run recovery team from Phoenix would be arriving to clean up the accident scene. The Arizona aviation accident attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten extend their sympathies to the victim’s family, and wish the pilot a speedy recovery.