Passenger grateful for help after plane crash in Kearny Mesa


SAN DIEGO — A passenger in a plane crash near Montgomery Field in San Diego is now out of the hospital. He described to FOX 5 the moments after the plane went down in a parking lot in Kearny Mesa.

“My biggest concern was getting the other pilot safely out of the plane,” Chris Stoddard said. “There was fuel everywhere — just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a fire or anything like that.”

Stoddard, a commercial pilot and former Congressional candidate, told FOX 5 he has been learning to fly a biplane for the past couple weeks with his friend, another commercial pilot. He said the plane had some sort of mechanical issue right after their first takeoff Thursday.

It went down behind the Kyocera building along Balboa Avenue. The pilot crash-landed the plane in a parking lot, avoiding power lines and structures.

“I will attribute that to the other pilot’s awesome flying skills,” he said. “He’s very experienced flying in many different aircraft.”

Both men were taken to the hospital, where Stoddard was treated for a broken nose. The pilot remains hospitalized and is expected to recover.

“I do remember, as I was trying to wake up the other pilot, there was a couple of pedestrians nearby that came over to assist. I’d really like to thank them and the first responders for getting there so fast as well and taking care of us,” Stoddard said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to take over the case with information gathered by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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