Mon, Oct 01 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Allison K. Sampite-montecalvo
A veteran pilot was forced to execute an emergency crash landing at Salt Creek Community Park in east Chula Vista earlier this evening.
Steve Smith, 42, had taken off from a field near Otay Lakes and was headed to John Nichol's Field Airport in Chula Vista when he said his engine stalled and he was forced to bring his single-engine plane down in the park.
Smith crashed just before sunset, according to an officer with the Chula Vista Police Department and smashed into an embankment, hitting a pole.
Medical personnel were called to the scene to tend to Smith and found him to have no injuries.
While the park was filled with visitors participating in recreational activities during the time of the crash, nobody else was injured.
Smith, who was shaken up, didn’t provide much detail of the event. He said the plane's engine stalled for no apparent reason.
“I wasn’t afraid for my life,” he said.
Smith said he’s been flying for 21 years and experienced a similar incident before.
He later told an officer after the incident that the trip may well be his last if his wife had anything to say about it.
Chula Vista Police Officer Steven Guthrie and other officers were tasked with preserving the scene until the National Transportation Safety Board arrived, which is jurisdictionally responsible for aircraft crashes.
The fixed-wing, single-engine plane, similar to an ultralight plane, is approximately 1,200 pounds, with a service ceiling of about 1,500 feet and tops out at 80 miles an hour.
Guthrie said a similar incident occurred in 2002 or 2003, when an ultralight went down in east Chula Vista and crashed into a field.
A flatbed tow truck was called to remove the plane from the scene.
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