Authorities disclosed that nobody on the ground was hurt, however the FAA disclosed that the pilot declared an emergency before crashing near John Wayne Airport. It was gathered that the small plane was heading to the airport southeast of Los Angeles when it came down, and struck an unoccupied parked car in the lot of a Staples store and a CVS pharmacy, Orange County Fire Authority Captain Steve Concialdi said. There was no fire and nobody on the ground was hurt, he said.
“Nobody on the ground was injured, so I don’t know anything about what this pilot did or what he was thinking, but it could have been much more tragic. This is a Sunday afternoon, and we have people shopping, so the fact that there are no injuries on the ground is a miracle in itself,” said Capt. Tony Bommarito, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Authority.
The crash site is just north of the popular South Coast Plaza shopping mall and a few blocks northwest of John Wayne Airport, which was the pilot’s destination. The plane is registered to the San Francisco-based real estate company Category III and had left Concord, according to an FAA database.
Pham, 20, and her boyfriend were walking in a parking lot Sunday when they saw a twin-engine Cessna crash, she told the Los Angeles Times.
“We looked up to see the plane falling nose first,” she told the Times. “It was so heartbreaking just seeing the plane crumbled into pieces.”
Photos from the scene showed the plane upright but on its belly and the car damaged. Several roads surrounding the shopping center and the South Coast Plaza mall across the street were closed.