A small plane crashed into the parking lot of a mall, killing an elderly award-winning pilot who was en route to his family for Thanksgiving.
Elzie Monroe McDonald, 87, crashed landed his single-engine Mooney M20 outside of a strip mall in Plano, Texas, around 6pm on Tuesday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
He was just days away from his 88th birthday, his family told WFAA, and was flying to the Dallas area to visit them for the holiday.
McDonald was trying a go-around, which is an aborted landing attempt in which the plane as it approaches land, then flies back up, stated a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) incident report on Wednesday.
A video showed the plane crashed close to the Nail Addiction salon and just missed striking one of the employees.
‘He’s safe but he’s mentally affected,’ the salon owner told NBC 5, which obtained the clip. ‘He and his wife couldn’t sleep last night. I and my wife couldn’t sleep last night, either. Everyone is still very shocked from the incident.’
The owner of Mama’s Daughters’ Diner next door, Nancy Procaccini, also could not sleep afterward.
‘I love my staff. And I love my customers dearly. And it was just so close,’ she told the TV station. ‘You know, you could picture yourself being almost in a wreck and it’s like, you can almost feel like you were hit. That’s the way it felt for me.’
Witnesses heard a loud boom and saw the right wing dip right before the aircraft crashed, according to The Dallas Morning News.
No one else was aboard.
The plane, which was registered to McDonald, went down less than a mile away from Air-Park Dallas Airport, which does not have an air traffic control tower.
McDonald, of Aguila, Arizona, had recently received an FAA Master Pilot Award, which is given to those who have flown safely for 50 or more years, the Wickenburg Sun reported.
The crash happened just weeks after a pilot flying a single-engine Cessna Skyhawk 172M plane crashed itinto the Florida Everglades on Halloween. The pilot survived a night in the alligator-infested swamp and was found with a wounded leg and rescued.
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