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Pilots of Tour Plane Badly Hurt in Crash

September 26, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

A sightseeing plane crashed onto a busy street immediately after a troubled takeoff from the Fullerton Municipal Airport on Saturday afternoon, narrowly missing onlookers and the flight tower and sideswiping a car.

The pilot and co-pilot were critically injured, and two women in the car sustained minor injuries.

The three-propeller plane -- a 1986 replica of a 1920s aircraft -- veered off the runway while picking up speed for liftoff, several witnesses said. Careening toward a group of people on the tarmac at about 75 mph, the pilot pulled the plane into a steep climb and turned hard to avoid the air-traffic control tower.

The plane then nose-dived onto Commonwealth Avenue, where it sideswiped a sedan with its wing and cartwheeled across the road. The wreckage came to rest half a block away from a residential street.

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