Video: Upland plane crash
UPLAND - A Van Nuys flight instructor and two students suffered only minor to moderate injuries after their plane crashed into three houses just east of Cable Airport on Monday morning.
The twin-engine Piper Seneca was attempting to land at Cable at about 10:39 a.m. when it struck a one-story house at 1407 W. Blossom Circle, said Upland Fire Chief Michael Antonucci.
The plane then bounced into the house next door, leaving part of a wing and an engine inside that house.
The body of the plane then landed backward on the garage roof of a third house.
No one was in the homes at the time of the crash.
At least two of the houses suffered severe damage, but Antonucci said all involved are extremely lucky.
He said 52-year-old flight instructor Eli Tousson suffered chest and back injuries, a 34-year-old student suffered back injuries and an 18-year-old student injured an arm. The two students were not identified.
"It's a miracle," Antonucci said.
There was a fuel leak from the plane, but Antonucci said firefighters quickly shut off gas and electricity to the houses.
"We're very fortunate there was no fire," Antonucci said. "It could have been uglier than it is."
Tousson was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, said Steve Rez, owner of the Van Nuys-based flight school where Tousson works.
The two flight students were taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center.
The six-seat Seneca left earlier in the day from Van Nuys Airport, said airport spokeswoman Diana Sanchez.
Tousson, a freelance flight instructor, was guiding two students from India through the checkride - the final step before flight certification.
Rez, who owns both Roxy Corp. and Aero Club Van Nuys flying schools, said one of the students passed the test Sunday. The other one had failed and was trying again Monday morning.
Rez spoke with Tousson by cell phone after the crash and said he is doing well.
Rez learned about the crash when someone who saw the plane on TV recognized the tail number and told him about it.
"I turned it on," he said. "It was not a nice thing to see. On the other hand, the airplane can be replaced and the (students) are OK."
The crash left residents of the normally quiet cul-de-sac in disbelief.
Antonucci said the two most severely damaged homes would be red-tagged - deemed unlivable due to unsafe conditions caused by the crash.
One of those homes - the second struck by the plane - belongs to Mark and Melysa Golder.
A relative told Melysa Golder about the crash, and the couple arrived to find the roof of the home where they've lived for almost four years badly damaged.
One of the plane's tires sat on their lawn.
"It happens," Mark Golder said, staring at his home. "We'll assess the damage and see what needs to be done."
Last June, a Cessna 560 jet piloted by Claremont resident Parviz Razavian crashed when it overshot the runway at Cable Airport. Razavian, his wife, Farideh Razavian, and his 20-year-old daughter, Shirin Razavian, were all critically injured.
Farideh Razavian died in July from severe burn injuries.
Also Monday morning, an experimental aircraft crashed at Corona Municipal Airport. Witnesses said the pilot walked away from the crash and appeared to be fine.
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The pilot, identified as a 50-year-old man, appeared to have suffered only a small cut and a bump during heavy turbulence.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport in Van Nuys, as it was first called, was the biggest, created by businessmen on 80 acres of walnut and peach groves.