By Lookout News
August 3, 2009 -- A small plane crashed at Santa Monica Airport Sunday afternoon when the pilot tried to make an emergency landing.
The pilot -- identified as William Davenport of Los Angeles -- was transported to a local hospital where his condition was unknown. He was the only person aboard the single-engine Long-EZ.
The crash was a close call for for residents who live just hundreds of feet from the airport's single runway.
"I heard the plane in trouble as it went over our," said Lynn Barker, a member of the VenMar Airport Committee (Venice-Mar Vista) who lives just south of the airport. "The engine stalled a couple of times then stopped."
"A neighbor two houses (down) thought the plane was going to crash into our homes," Barker said.
The plane lost power almost immediately after taking off at 2:45 p.m., Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said.
The plane circled back, landed hard and skidded off the runway, FAA officials said.
The plane turned over and broke in half, according to witnesses at the scene. Some reports indicated firefighters may have sprayed the plane with fire-retarding foam.
Firefighters extricated Davenport from the plane.
FAA controllers closed the airport immediately after the accident. FAA investigators were immediately called to the scene.