FAIRBANKS - Two people were injured when the small plane they were in landed nose-down in a birch grove beside a pond surrounded by houses.
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Residents of the neighborhood off Chena Pump Road poured out of their houses late Thursday morning to get a firsthand look. Andrew Boyle was just glad the Cessna 150 aircraft hadn't crashed through the side of his house and landed in his living room.
"Those trees actually stopped that plane from running into my house," Boyle said. "I'm right in the flight path. Planes fly over my house all the time."
The crash happened within a mile of takeoff from the airstrip at Chena Marina Air Service shortly before noon while pilot and owner Robert Miller, 65, of Fairbanks was undergoing his biannual flight review. He was seen after the crash with a bandage wrapped around his head.
Flight instructor Al Storvic, 68, also of Fairbanks, was taken to a hospital by ambulance because of a leg injury.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, according to a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, speaking from his office in Los Angeles.
A trooper report blamed the crash on a probable mechanical failure and stated the aircraft appeared damaged beyond repair. In addition to the Cessna's crumpled nose, a wing was badly marred.
Resident Charles Scott was the first person on the scene.
Scott was standing in his front yard when he heard sputtering and saw a plume of dust, he said.
"I paused for a moment, and I took off running," he said.
As Scott neared the aircraft, he saw its occupants moving around.
"I asked them if they were OK," Scott said. "They were trying to get themselves out."
Scott called 911, a passing motorist stopped and the men pulled Storvic out of the Cessna. Scott then ran home for some ice packs, he said.