'I could feel the heat on my face': Small plane crashes onto busy Mukilteo road
MUKILTEO, Wash. -- A small plane that had just taken off from Paine Field crashed on a busy Mukilteo road Tuesday afternoon, sending a rain of fire down on cars idling in early rush hour traffic below.
Miraculously, only two people suffered minor injuries in the event, and only one needed to be hospitalized.
Dramatic dash cam video captured by driver Guanting Li shows the plane clip some power lines then erupt into a ball of fire as it hit the ground.
WATCH: Dash cam video captures Mukilteo plane crash:
"I'm so lucky," said driver Amanda Hayes, who told KOMO News the plane's wing actually scraped her car as it came down. "I just said, 'Get down!' And before I know it, I could feel the heat on my face... and like the fireball and the wing clipped at the end."
"When it was over, I wasn't sure if we were OK, if our van was OK. I don't know, that's probably the closest I've come to really thinking, 'oh this is the end, ' " added Hayes.
"I heard an explosion, a big 'boom!' like this, and you saw the smoke blow up and then, 'whoosh' he hit the cars and then he went to the side of the road," said Elaine Warbus who witnessed the crash while stopped at the red light. "A plane literally fell out of the sky, right there on top of three or four other cars. It's a mess out there."
The Federal Aviation Administration says the plane is a single-engine Piper PA32, and that it crashed on Harbour Pointe Boulevard after taking off from Runway 16R at nearby Paine Field.
Mukilteo police say the plane lost power at around 500 feet and the pilot attempted to find an empty spot on the road to set down. However, the plane struck a power line and clipped a traffic signal, rupturing a fuel tank that ignited a mid-air fuel spill, dousing an SUV waiting at the traffic light below in burning fuel. The plane skidded to a stop on the southbound lanes of Harbour Pointe Boulevard, just yards from a gas station and hotel and a half block from Mukilteo's City Hall.
One person was taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries while a second person was treated at the scene, Mukilteo police said. The pilot, a 30-year-old Oregon man, didn't report any injuries.
The ensuing crash and power outage created gridlock in the area as the busy Mukilteo Speedway was shut down at the start of the evening commute.
Tyler Smith told KOMO NewsRadio that he was coming out of the supermarket when he saw a cloud of smoke and discovered the small plane had crashed.
He said he saw a pilot and passenger walking away, and described it as a small plane with its wings clipped away.
Power was knocked out to several nearby homes and businesses. Snohomish County PUD crews restored power to all affected customers about an hour later.
The NTSB is now investigating the crash.