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Plane makes emergency crash-landing on California rooftop

By Ben Hooper

POMONA, Calif., May 9 (UPI) -- A single-engine plane in California lost power in mid-flight and the pilot was able to make an emergency crash landing -- on the roof of a building.

The California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Fire Department said drivers in Pomona called 911 about 4:45 p.m. Sunday to report that a plane appeared to be preparing to crash near the 10 and 57 freeways.

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The pilot was able to steer the plane, which had been headed for Brackett Airfield when it lost power, toward a rooftop for an emergency crash-landing.

"We saw it hit. We saw the impact. We figured it was a roof and it bounced a bit," Kelly Vella told NBC Los Angeles. "We started going, 'Oh my gosh,' and I called 911."

A photo posted by Tommy (@tcfire08) on

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The 61-year-old pilot, who was the only person aboard the aircraft, was air-lifted to a hospital with moderate injuries including a broken leg and head injuries. He is expected to recover.

Eduardo Ramirez climbed a tree when he saw the crash and was the first to reach the pilot.

"As soon as I got onto the roof and saw the plane I thought he was dead," Ramirez told KABC-TV. "When I talked to him he said that he had a broken ankle. So he just wanted to wait a little bit, he was in shock, he just wanted to wait a little bit and relax. So I was just there with him trying to keep him calm."

Firefighters said the Piper PA 28 plane missed crashing through the building, which houses a California Department of Corrections parole office, by about 50 feet.

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