Pilot seriously injured in plane crash near San Jose's Reid-Hillview Airport

Amanda del Castillo Image
Friday, July 22, 2022
Pilot seriously injured in plane crash in San Jose
A pilot is in the hospital after his plane came crashing down near Reid-Hillview County Airport in San Jose on Friday evening.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A pilot is in the hospital after his plane came crashing down near Reid-Hillview County Airport in San Jose on Friday evening.

The surrounding neighborhood remained roped off into the night as the investigation into what went wrong was just beginning.

"I heard a big, big, big noise. 'Crack!' like that," long-time resident Mayela Andrade told ABC7 News. "Then it went like that, and then the motor went off. And it went 'Boom,' right there."

Andrade was outside of her home, playing with her grandchild when the single-engine Piper PA-32 took down powerlines and crashed at 7:30 p.m.

The FAA said the pilot was departing from Reid-Hillview County Airport. The plane went belly down at Ocala Avenue and Karl Street.

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The crash occurred near the intersection of Ocala Avenue and Karl Street in east San Jose, adjacent to the airport. Two schools -- Donald J. Meyer Elementary School and Clyde L. Fischer Middle School -- are located in the immediate vicinity of where the aircraft crashed.

Resident Maria Reyes said, "This is a residential area. This is not Mineta, this is not San Martin, this is not Palo Alto. They are in the middle of a residential area."

"I know, imagine if it came on top of our house when we're sleeping, or when we're playing with our grandchildren. This is too much," Andrade added.

Video shared with ABC7 News shows the moments that followed the crash. Residents were recorded responding to the scene. The pilot is seen laid out on the pavement near a puddle of blood.

We've blurred the victim because of the nature of his injuries.

Fernando Rodriguez told ABC7 News the plane must've been flying low, considering it clipped powerlines.

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According to SJPD, residents living near the downed powerlines were assisted with the evacuation. Roads in the surrounding area were closed.

Late Friday, police said the pilot sustained life-threatening injuries but had been stabilized.

Resident Gilbert Reyes told ABC7 News. "We're trying to close the airport and this is good ammunition for us right now."

Those we spoke with remained critical of those in power, explaining Friday's scene is just one of many aircraft crashes they've seen in the neighborhood.

On Friday, some described seeing others assisting in the emergency response.

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Mariela Mendoza described neighbors directing drivers around downed powerlines and rushing to help the pilot.

Friday's scene is an unfortunate reality, according to residents. All their concern resurfaced.

"I'm very scared," Andrade said. "I'm still shaking."

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