Small Plane Crashes Near Oceanside Municipal Airport - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Small Plane Crashes Near Oceanside Municipal Airport

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Officials said the pilot and passenger on a single-engine plane registered to an El Cajon flight school were injured today when the plane crashed just east of the Oceanside Municipal Airport, breaking a pipe that spewed 25,000 gallons of raw sewage.

The plane crashed at 10:44 a.m. just northeast of Mission and Frontier Roads, about 300 yards from a residential area, according to Oceanside police and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot did not make a distress call before the crash, said an airport official who saw the plane overshoot the runway before it crashed into a power pole just east of the runway.

The 24-year-old pilot at the controls of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and his 18-year-old passenger suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla by helicopter, according to police and the FAA, who withheld the names of both.

The four-seater plane, registered to the California Flight Academy, also struck and broke a valve on a pipe at a sewage pumping station that spewed about 25,000 gallons of effluent, said Oceanside police Sgt. Kelan Poorman.

A 30-foot geyser of sewage rained on the rescue crews as they freed the pilot, whose leg was pinned inside the plane.

It took at least 30 minutes to pull the pilot out of the plane, which was nearly wrapped around the utility pole.

Witness Mark Jeannette, an Oceanside resident and freelance videographer, said firefighters carefully worked to extract the pilot's trapped leg and protect him from any effluent that was spraying over the wreckage.

Jeannette said ankle-deep pools of liquid were on the ground -- a mix of rainwater, raw sewage and aviation fluid -- and live power lines above the plane.

"It was extremely tense," said Jeannette, who along with about 100 onlookers were pushed back by officers from the hazardous area.

By early afternoon, public works pumps had sucked up most of the sewage and the fuel spill from the plane was mostly cleaned up, Poorman said.

The plane holds about 70 gallons of fuel. It was unclear how much spilled.

Federal investigators were on the scene, but the wreckage probably will not be moved until tomorrow, Poorman said.

Mission Road was scheduled to reopen early this evening. The area between Foussat Road and Fireside Street was closed for most of the afternoon.

Ten firefighters, four police officers and one public works official had to be decontaminated at the scene, Poorman said. They had to strip down to their shorts and hosed down near the crash site. Their uniforms and protective gear were disposed of by county health officials, Poorman said.

The pilot took off from Gillespie Field in El Cajon and was heading to Torrance Municipal Airport, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

An airport official said the plane crashed on the site of an old drive-in theater, where swap meets are sometimes held. The nearest homes are about 300 yards away.

The 18-year-old passenger apparently got out on his own, but the pilot was trapped in the wreckage for nearly 30 minutes, according to a videographer at the scene.

A witness said the engine was torn from the fuselage and landed about 30 feet from the plane. Another witness told the videographer the plane circled the airfield at least twice before crashing.

County health department and public works crews cleaned up the spill and fixed the broken valve.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

It was unclear if the plane was on a training flight.

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