The 78-year-old passenger died at Sharp Memorial Hospital shortly after the Wednesday afternoon crash, officials said. The pilot, described as a woman in her 50s, was hospitalized with severe injuries, Lee Swanson, a spokesman for San Diego Fire-Rescue, said.
Vince Carter, who was practicing helicopter takeoffs from Montgomery Field when the Mooney M20L took off from the airport, said he heard the pilot reporting to air traffic control that she had lost power. The crash in a parking lot between Costco and Target stores occurred about 15 seconds later.
Carter said somehow the pilot was able to bring the plane down in a busy area without injuring anyone on the ground.
"From a pilot's perspective, this is a miracle, an absolute miracle," Carter said. "It's an amazing testament to her skill."
San Diego Police Lt. Steve Behrendt said the plane bounced off the roof of the Target store and hit a light pole.
The identities of the two women had not been released Thursday morning. The plane was registered to William F. Logan of San Diego.