New Jersey

Plane Crashes on NJ Neighborhood Street, Injuring Pilot: Officials

A small plane crashed Sunday on a residential street in New Jersey, injuring the pilot, knocking down power lines and damaging parked cars, officials said. 

The single-engine Piper went down on Avenue E between 41st and 42nd streets in Bayonne shortly after 10 a.m., city officials said. 

The 56-year-old pilot, George Pettway, was alert and talking after rescuers removed him from the wreckage, city officials said. He was taken to a hospital with a broken leg. He was admitted to Jersey City Medical Center/Barnabas Health overnight. 

The pilot was the only person aboard the plane. 

Pettway told investigators he had mechanical problems as he flew near the Statue of Liberty, and decided to glide into the residential neighborhood, authorities said Monday. 

He clipped power lines and trees on the way down, and the plane hit wires near the Shell gas station, where part of the wing broke off and landed just steps from the pumps.

"If it was to hit the pump, it could have set the pumps on fire, and if it was to hit one of these windows, we could have been in trouble," said worker Hamza Faiz. "People could have died." 

Firefighters sorted through parts of the plane, which were scattered on Avenue E near 42nd Street. The aircraft's wheel compartment was split into two as the pieces lay within 30 feet of each other. A white sedan parked near the accident had its hood partially mangled by the impact of the crash.

The plane mangled power lines and damaged parked vehicles, but no one on the ground was hurt.

"The fact that it happened 20 feet from the house, and any wind gust could have blown it into any of these houses, it's crazy," said neighbor Jimmy Seitzinger. 

Z100 radio DJ Mo' Bounce, who lives blocks from where the plane crashed, said he saw the aircraft descending over his house.

"OMG! A small plane just crashed a few blocks from me in #Bayonne!," he tweeted. "Saw it coming down over out house! Hope everyone is ok!"

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