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Plane Crashes on Mall Lot, Bangs Up 9 Vehicles

February 10, 1988|Associated Press

SAN JOSE — Nine cars were damaged but no one was injured Tuesday when a single-engine airplane crash-landed in the parking lot of a shopping mall, authorities said.

Leland G. Turner, 44, of Red Bluff told police the engine of his Beechcraft Bonanza failed on approach to Reid-Hillview Airport and he was forced to set it down in the Eastridge Mall lot between a J. C. Penney's store and Macy's.

No one on the ground was in the path of the plane, and Turner emerged from the aircraft "looking concerned and shaken" but unhurt, according to paramedic Dave Bockholt.

The pilot said he was flying to San Jose on business when the trouble became evident about half a mile from the airport at about 10:25 a.m., Police Sgt. Dwight Messimer said.

The plane struck a tree in the parking lot before hitting nine parked vehicles, which Messimer said sustained damage ranging from minor to total.

Three Federal Aviation Administration investigators went to the scene to try to determine what caused the accident.

The plane came to rest right-side up, its right wing crushing the tops of two of the vehicles and the left wing resting on the side of another vehicle that was knocked over by the impact.

"It was just, 'kaboom!' The cars were like toys, and people just started running towards it (the crash site)," said Otis Rilley Jr., a store security guard who witnessed the crash.

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