POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - A small plane crashed into a neighborhood Friday morning moments after take off but remarkably the pilot walked away and nobody on the ground was hurt.
The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza took off from Pompano Beach Airpark shortly after 6:30 a.m. when the plane clipped some power lines and crashed in an alley behind several homes in the 2100 block of Northeast 3rd Avenue.
"I saw the airplane coming too low to the floor and I said 'What's that?'" one resident told Local 10's Roger Lohse.
People living in the neighborhood just west of Dixie Highway off Copans Road said they were startled out of bed when the plane hit the ground and a transformer exploded.
"We didn't know what it was at first, just a loud boom," said a man who identified himself as Corey.
The pilot, Jimmy Smith, 75, emerged from the plane with only a small scratch on his finger. He told Lohse he was headed to Tampa to get his new plane serviced but the power lines cut his trip short.
"I just taxied to the runway, took off and just didn't get enough speed up for some reason or another," he said.
Smith estimated he was about 60 feet in the air when the plane dropped to the ground.
Witnesses were stunned to see him climb out of the wreckage.
"People walk down the street, trip, fall and bump their head and die. This guy crashes a plane and not a scratch on him," said neighbor Quincy Jones.
The fire department doused the plane with foam to prevent the 70 gallons of fuel on board from igniting. Florida Power & Light also shut down power to the neighborhood as a precaution. The company said roughly 1,750 customers were affected. Power was restored to the neighborhood by 10 a.m.
Smith said he has more than 30 years of flying experience but despite his skills, he can't take credit for where the plane landed. Residents said they know who to thank.
"Couple yards this way and who knows what could have happened, so like I say, you gotta thank God," Jones said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.
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