(DELAND, Fla.) — Three people were seriously injured when a small experimental plane crashed into a busy Florida supermarket Monday evening, bursting into flames and sending shoppers and employees fleeing for their lives.
The single engine plane had been in the air for just moments when it lost power and crashed into the roof of a Publix supermarket in DeLand, a city about 20 miles southwest of Daytona Beach, during the store’s busy, after-work hours, authorities said.
There were 35 shoppers and 33 employees inside the Publix when the plane hit just after 7 p.m., authorities said. Customers who dialed 9-1-1 reported smoke and burning amid a chaotic scene.
Five people were injured in the crash, including the plane’s pilot and co-pilot. They remain at Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition, according to local affiliate WFTV.
A third man is being treated for burns on his legs and the other two victims have already been released from the hospital, WFTV reported.
Authorities said they do not yet know what caused the crash. Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be on the ground in DeLand on Tuesday to examine the wreckage.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing the plane in trouble from the moment it took off from the nearby DeLand Municipal Airport. The Orlando Sentinel reported that initial reports indicated the problem was mechanical.
The Publix store is closed on Tuesday as investigators continue their work. The plane remains inside the store.
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