Yesterdays news that Melissa sent to me but I didn’t get, I saw it on News 12 this morning. Crazy! We go to he Rockaway Mall and the surrounding stores all the time. In fact, I think we were there this past Saturday. I guess not living too far away from it is a good thing too.
Pilot, flight instructor crash land plane at Rockaway Townsquare Mall
by Jim Lockwood/The Star-LedgerTuesday August 25, 2009, 2:55 PM
ROCKAWAY — A small plane that had engine trouble made an emergency landing today at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, according Capt. Jeffrey Paul, a spokesman for Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi.
No one was hurt, as the two occupants, a student pilot and a flight instructor, were able to get out of the Cessna 172 on their own, authorities said. The accident occurred near the JCPenney store at the mall.Jerry McCrea/The Star-LedgerÂA private plane sits in the parking lot outside JCPenney after crash landing at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Rockaway Township.
Â “The preliminary assessment indicates the plane experienced engine failure that resulted in the emergency landing,” Paul said.
Eyewitnesses said the plane bounced upon landing, skidded into a grassy median, and spun 180 degrees once its wings clipped a 25-foot tree standing in the median.
“I heard people yelling ‘Watch out for the plane! It’s coming down,” said 15-year-old Katie Skolsky, of Rockaway.
Virginia Skolsky said she was amazed there were not more cars in the parking lot — given that so many people were going to JCPenny’s for back to school shopping.
“We were kind of in shock. It happened so fast it was scary,” she said.
The recreational flight originated at Air Fleet Training Systems, one of three flight schools at Essex County Airport in Fairfield, at 12:12 p.m, said Arlene Salac of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The aircraft was manned by an instructor from New Jersey and an experienced student from New York, both in their 30s, said a company dispatcher.
“They were both well qualified,” said the dispatcher, who declined to give her name.
The plane was en route to Essex County Airport in Fairfield. Thomas Gomez, the airport’s general manager, said Rockaway police had contacted his control tower. “My controller talked to them,” Gomez said of the inquiries.
Rockaway Township Police Lt. Marie Romo said the pilot and flight instructor, a man and woman, were taken to Saint Clares Hospital in Dover with minor injuries. Romo said it was fortunate the pilot found the open area in the parking lot between the JCPenny’s and a Toys-R-Us store.
“It’s a tribute to the skill of the instructor and pilot that there is no damage to cars or people,” Romo said.
Natalie Brock, of Dover, a college student at Fairleigh Dickinson University, said she was amazed the pilot and the instructor were not hurt.
“It was kind of a scary moment. But when I saw two people come out, I knew everything would be okay,” said Brock, who was at the mall for back-to-school shopping.
Joe Pimental, a limousine driver for My Limo Service of East Hanover, said he saw the plane turning above the mall.
“I saw it circling around, maybe looking for a place to put it down,” said Pimenao, of Rockaway. “It’s amazing. The pilot did a good job landing it the way he did. It could have been worse.”photo courtesy of myfoxny.comÂA single-engine Cessna crashed into the parking lot of the Rockaway Townsquare Mall.
The Cessna 172, built in 1979, is registered to Genesus One Inc., of Paramus, Bergen County, according to federal aviation records.
Emergency officials sprayed the plane with foam to minimize the chance of a fire igniting, authorities said. There was no fire, and the incident is being considered as an emergency landing, and not as a crash, authorities said.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Department, Office of Emergency Management, and Fire Coordinator, as well as Rockaway Township police, fire, and EMS departments, Picatinny Arsenal firefighters also responded to the scene, authorities said.
The Associated Press reported JC Penney employee Nadia Acevedo said she saw the small passenger plane in the parking lot near her store. The front end of the plane appears to be damaged. She said the pilot is being treated by paramedics and appeared to be conscious.
— Star-Ledger reporter Phil Read contributed to this report.
MyFoxNY.com: Plane Crashes In Rockaway
I’m just glad no one was hurt and that it wasn’t a busy time at the mall. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for no more plane problems for a while.