(SAN DIEGO) — The pilot who crashed into a San Diego parking lot after clipping a Target store was pulled from the plane’s wreckage by a civilian rescuer as flames had gotten as close as the seat right behind her, her rescuer told ABC News.
The plane went down in a fireball in a shopping center parking lot around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday after a bounced landing at the nearby Montgomery Field municipal airport caused the plane to crash in the parking lot, according to authorities.
An 80-year-old passenger in the plane later died of her injuries in a hospital.
The plane’s 52-year-old pilot, who was not identified, was unable to clear the Target building and smashed into the parking lot. Jeremy Dunkleberger rushed to her rescue.
“I said, ‘We’ve got to get you out of here,’” Dunkleberger told ABC News. “She said, ‘Well my leg is broken. It’s broken real bad.’”
“I said, ‘I know that, but we’ve got to get you out of here.’ I said, ‘The seat behind you is on fire,’” Dunkleberger said.
The two women were both taken to a hospital, where the passenger later died from her injuries.
San Diego ABC station KGTV reports the plane was registered to a man named William Logan and that it was his wife and her mother who were on the plane.
Radio communication between the pilot and the air traffic control tower shows the pilot’s concern.
“Oh my God, I’m not getting any altitude here,” the pilot says in the audio recording. “I’m full throttle. I’m going down.”
Two witnesses to the crash suffered injuries on the ground, according to Fire Department spokesperson Lee Swanson.
The FAA and NTSB will investigate the cause of the accident.
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