Small plane crashes in Surprise neighborhood

Posted at 5:29 PM, May 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-08 01:32:03-04

Two people have been hospitalized after a small plane crashed in a residential area Saturday afternoon.

A picture from an ABC15 viewer showed the aftermath of the crash, with debris scattered around a green space.

Surprise police said a single-engine plane crashed inside Sun Village, a planned community near N. Bell and W. Litchfield roads, around 5 p.m.

Residents praised the pilot's skill to land the aircraft in an open area, avoiding homes just a few feet away.

“You never think you’re going to have a plane land in your back yard," said Jean Steinken.

Both the pilot and sole passenger were alert when first responders arrived, said Sgt. Norm Owens with the Surprise Police Department. 

“I saw him scoot out of the plane on his fanny, and the other one was laying down," Petty said. 

The pilot and a passenger were taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. Both suffered serious injuries, according to the Surprise Fire Department.

Neighbors rushed outside their homes when they heard the impact, just steps away from where they live.

“I said, 'My Lord, what was that? The loudest boom!” said Sue Petty. 

"A lot of our snowbirds have left for the season, so we were real lucky because this park is usually real full of people out here with their animals," said Delilah Smart.

No one on the ground was hurt and no homes were hit as the plane crashed, authorities said.

“The hand of God had to help them set that plane down because you can see it’s turned upside down and it’s broken into several pieces," Petty said. 

Looking at the wreckage, she can’t help but get emotional knowing two people were inside.

“We just hope and pray that they’re both well," Petty said.

The pilot and passenger have not been identified, and authorities have not released the tail number of the plane.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.