Pilot taking ‘infrared photos’ crashes into Va. apartment
(CNN) – Pilot William Larson and his passenger were taking aerial photos from a single-engine plane for their Virginia photography company overnight when the plane had electrical problems, police say.
Minutes later, the plane slammed into the living room of a third-story suburban Washington apartment in a crash that caused no life-threatening injuries, according to Virginia State Police.
The Cessna crashed into the top floor of an apartment in Herndon as the residents slept Friday, shortly after midnight, seriously injuring Larson, 61, and hurting his passenger and a woman in the apartment, state police said.
Video from CNN affiliate WJLA showed the front of the plane deep into the third-floor living room, with the tail sticking outside.
One of six people sleeping in the unit at the time, David Ventura, told CNN affiliate WUSA that his children slept through the crash, and that his wife had quite a shock when she left her bedroom.
“She saw the plane inside the living room and … she was screaming and everything,” Ventura said. “And one of the guys that was driving the plane told her to call 911.
“But she was so nervous that she said that she got her cell phone, and she was trying to dial 911, and she couldn’t because she was in shock.”
Ventura’s wife was taken to a hospital with unspecified injuries, and Larson’s passenger, Tache L. Alejandro of Orlando, Florida, was treated at the scene for minor injuries, state police said. Larson was hospitalized with serious injuries but is expected to survive, police said.
Larson and Alejandro, having taken off from Philadelphia and expecting to land in Manassas, Virginia, were taking infrared photographs from the plane when the aircraft “experienced electrical problems and the engine cut off,” state police said in a news release.
With the plane also running low on fuel, Larson contacted Virginia’s Dulles International Airport with a view to landing there, but the plane crashed in the Herndon apartment building about a mile short of Dulles, police said.
The building was evacuated Friday, and the Red Cross is assisting four families, WUSA reported. Workers and a crane took the crumpled plane out of the structure and onto a flatbed truck Friday morning.
The plane is registered to Aerial Photographers in Vienna, Virginia. Calls to the business weren’t immediately returned.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were to investigate the incident, state police said.
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