House Painters Save Pilot After Plane Crashes In Backyard

Cessna plane crash Santa MonicaSANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) -- A pilot suffered a broken leg after crashing a small plane into the yard of a home near Santa Monica Airport, authorities said Monday.

The Cessna 172 went down shortly after taking off from the airport around 2:30 p.m., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

It struck the cinderblock wall of a house a block from the end of the airport's runway.

No one was home at the time of the crash, and painters working in the backyard were able to pull the pilot from the wreckage as fuel spilled over him, Santa Monica Fire Capt. Judah Mitchell said.

The pilot, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries. One of the painters hit by flying debris from the crash was also taken to a hospital to be looked at, Mitchell said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash, Kenitzer said.

In July 2010, a pilot who was practicing touch-and-go landings at the airport died when his small plane slammed nose-first into a nearby golf course.

Residents have complained for years about the potential for a jet to overshoot the runway and crash into homes. The nearest homes are within 300 feet of the runway's end.

The city tried to ban fast-landing jets from the airport but was unsuccessful in its quest after the FAA concluded the jets can operate safely there.

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