August 25, 2009

Plane crash-lands in mall parking lot

Back-to-school shoppers at a New Jersey mall got a big surprise Tuesday when a small plane crash-landed in the parking lot, authorities said.

The pilot of the plane had complained of engine trouble just before it came down in the lot at Rockaway Townsquare in Rockaway, The New York Times reported.

The pilot, a flight instructor, and the only other person on board, his student, were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, authorities said.

The single-engine Cessna 172RG was returning to Essex County Airport in Fairfield, N.J., from Greenwood Lake, N.J., when the plane went down about noon EDT, officials said.

Its nose on the ground, the plane stopped near a J.C. Penny store and suffered only minor damage, officials said.

I was freaking out because there's a plane right in front of me, Kim La Marco, 29, of Randolph, N.J., told the New York Daily News. It's not like you see this every day, a plane crashed right in front of you.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, the Times said.