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Small Plane Crashes at the Port of Long Beach

Pilot is seriously injured as the single-engine craft lands nose-down at a cargo container facility.

February 13, 2006|From a Times Staff Writer

A small plane crashed into a container-loading area at the Port of Long Beach on Sunday afternoon, seriously injuring the pilot, who was pulled from the wreckage by port workers, a fire official said.

The aircraft, carrying only the pilot, landed nose-down in a relatively empty paved area at the Pacific Container Terminal, said Battalion Chief Jeff Reeb of the Long Beach Fire Department.

He said the single-engine plane cracked in two on impact and came to a rest near a stack of steel containers but did little damage to anything on the ground. There was no fire.

Two employees and a longshoreman rescued the pilot from the crippled plane, and he was taken to St. Mary Medical Center, where he was in stable condition, Reeb said.

Authorities said the pilot's name, the originating airport and destination were not known. Reeb said investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration were en route Sunday night.

The crash occurred at 4:16 p.m. near Berth 270 on Pier J Avenue, the southernmost part of the port. Art Wong, a spokesman for the Port of Long Beach, said there was no ship nearby and few weekend workers at the cargo-handling facility.

More than $100 billion worth of cargo moves through the port each year, Wong said. Most of the stacked steel containers are filled with consumer goods, which are loaded onto nearby rail cars.

Wong said Sunday's accident was the first time a plane had crashed at the 3,200-acre facility. The port area is a popular site for general aviation activity, he said.

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