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Small plane crashes in Santa Monica backyard

August 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A small plane crashed in a Santa Monica backyard on Monday. Officials say it's a miracle that the pilot survived.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Cessna 172 crashed just before 3 p.m. in the area of 21st and Navy streets near the Santa Monica Airport.

Airport officials say the student pilot was attempting to land solo at the airport when he had a problem. He made a second attempt, and that was when something went wrong. Witnesses said the plane clipped nearby trees and a garage before diving nose first into the ground.

"I think the tree saved his life because it pushed him to the left, and he just hit the corner of the house," said witness Luis Espana.

The pilot was transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries.

"It actually struck a cinderblock wall, the fence in the back of the house, and it appears as though the wall absorbed a lot of the energy," said Robert Trimborn of Santa Monica Airport.

Officials say that there were painters working on the house at the time. They, along with another Good Samaritan, helped pull the pilot out. Workers said they had to cut the seatbelt off the pilot.

One of the workers then grabbed a garden hose and put out a small fire that had broken out.

The cause of the crash has not been determined. The area was shut down for investigation.


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