WEST MELBOURNE, Fla. - Janet Estes and J.P. McMenamy work across the street from where a small plane crashed in West Melbourne on Tuesday. They ran outside their store after they heard a loud boom noise, and they lost power.
They were shocked to find a plane flipped upside down and a man stuck inside.
Authorities said the Piper PA-28 was flying into Melbourne Orlando International Airport from Okeechobee around 3 p.m. when the pilot reported a mechanical issue. Before coming down to the ground, the place struck some power lines and flipped over after landing, according to a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration.
"He had a deep cut on his ear, a head injury, you could tell his arm was cut," Estes said.
McMenamy says about 20 employees from nearby businesses rushed over to help, some of them crowding beneath the wings to lift the aircraft up, while two workers pulled the pilot from the cockpit.
"Without question, I think everybody, the guys that jumped in to help him are heroes, because without them, we don’t know what could have happened. But they had him out of that plane and safe within minutes," Estes said.
The pilot was the sole occupant of the plane, and he was taken to a hospital in "stable but serious condition," officials said.
According to the FAA's website, the plane is registered to someone in New Jersey.