Pilot escapes uninjured after plane crash

September 16, 2009 8:48:50 PM PDT
A small plane crashed at the Hayward Executive Airport just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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A surveillance camera mounted on top of the building that the small plane hit recorded the entire crash. In slow motion, you could see the shadow of the twin engine Beechcraft King Air just before it crashed in what looked like a ball of fire.

Aircraft mechanic Sean Barker saw it happen.

As I'm watching it I see the left wing hit the ground, a little plume of fire and then right before it passed behind the hanger, I saw the rest of the cabin hit," said Barker.

Truck driver Troy Lothrop ran to try and help, and ran into the pilot.

"And he didn't have a scratch on him, just a torn pant leg, just amazing. I was blown away because I thought for sure somebody lost their life in there," said Lothrop.

The pilot, who has not been identified, was the only one on board and the plane had been heading to San Carlos. It's owned by a radio station company called Henry Broadcasting.

A receptionist at the company said the plane is used to ferry employees.

Firefighters say it took off from Hayward with 200 gallons of fuel on board.

The crash was so violent it tore off both engines and the landing gear. Flames touched off a small grass fire but the pilot wasn't hurt.

"From what the pilot was able to tell us, he took off from runway 2-8 left, which is the nearest runway to us, and said that the aircraft tended to drift a little bit to the left. At the time it was trying to pull out, it pulled hard left and he ended up on the railroad spur, right where we see the aircraft," said Capt. Thor Paulsen from the Hayward Fire Department.

The wreckage will be removed on Thursday and taken to a salvage yard in Sacramento.

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting its own investigation. An NTSB inspector said he expects to have a preliminary report by late Thursday.

The pilot has 20 years experience.

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