A male pilot and his female student are in critical condition after a small plane crashed into a soccer field in northwest San Pedro Monday afternoon, authorities said.
The crash was reported just before 1 p.m. in the 400 block of Westmont Drive at a park named Field of Dreams, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The scene is near the border with Wilmington.
The woman, who is believed to be in her 30s, was pulled out of the plane by two bystanders, while the pilot, believed to be around 45, was rescued by firefighters.
“Both patients were transported … in at least critical condition,” fire officials said.
Their ages have not been released. No one else was hurt.
The single-engine Sling 4 TSI was coming from Zamperini Field in and went out over the ocean briefly for a total flight time of about 30 minutes.
Fire officials were concerned about fuel on the ground after the crash and were working to clean up the area, Battalion Chief Shin Black said.
The plane crashed into an empty field, but Los Angeles City Councilman Tim Mcosker, who represents the area, said the park is usually very busy on weekends, and that the crash could have caused a “much greater disaster.”
“This could have been a much larger tragedy,” he said.
This was the best possible outcome, considering there are high hazard large propane storage tanks nearby, Black also noted.
Witness J.R. Romero said he was in the area when he saw the plane go down, originally thinking it was a toy.
He and another man ran to help and were able to get the woman out of the plane.
“I flung that door open so we were able to get her out, get her seatbelt off, able to pull her out,” Romero said. “We didn’t want to pull out the gentleman because he was in worse condition, I think he was unconscious for sure, she was at least conscious.”
The cause of the crash will be under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. NTSB officials added that there have been 79 aircraft accidents in California in 2023, with 17 of those accidents being fatalities, including in Van Nuys, Murrieta and Big Bear.