A pilot was hospitalized Wednesday when his single-engine plane made a hard landing in a backyard in Compton in southern Los Angeles, fire officials said.
The plane experienced engine failure and went down in the 1900 block of Reeves Street minutes after taking off from nearby Compton/Woodley Airport about 2:20 p.m., according to Compton Fire Department Interim Chief Brian Batiste.
"The pilot attempted to land the plane on Central Avenue but was unable to," Batiste said. Pilots have that discretion in case of an emergency, said Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
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The pilot was able to get out of the plane on his own before paramedics arrived and treated him at the scene for a deep laceration above the left eye, Batiste said. He was taken to a hospital for further treatment of the non-life-threatening injury.
No one else was injured and no homes were damaged. Only a fence broke.
The plane sustained major damage to its prop, passenger compartment, and right wing.
The pilot was the only person aboard the single-engine Piper PA28, said Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration, which will investigate the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board.
The plane was registered to Compton-based Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum, according to a check of the aircraft's N number. The registration expired on Sept. 30, according to the FAA registry.
Witnesses were surprised no one on the ground was hurt.
"Everybody was standing outside the store and could see it," said Paul Perry. "He got about halfway up in the air. It started puttering. It puttered, puttered and went down and started going sideways and it came down sideways and went down right here."
Rosa Ordaz and City News Service contributed to this report.