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Jet Plows Through Fence at Van Nuys Airport; 4 Hurt

Times Staff Writer

A corporate jet that lost hydraulic power crashed through a fence at the end of a Van Nuys airport runway this morning, injuring two people in the plane and two on the ground before skidding to a halt on a municipal golf course.

Vince Marzo, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said the pilot of the twin-engine jet called the tower at the Van Nuys airport at about 7:30 a.m. to report that he would make an emergency landing on an 8,000-foot runway that ends at Vanowen Street.

Marzo said the plane careened down the runway at speeds of up to 150 m.p.h. before hitting a chain-link fence and “jumping” over the street onto the golf course. The jet, he said, clipped two cars traveling on Vanowen Street before coming to a halt near the sixth green of the golf course.

George Drew, a 17-year-old high school student from Pacoima, was sleeping in the back of a pickup truck when the plane destroyed a camper shell over his head, Marzo said. A spokesman at Northridge Medical Center said Drew suffered minor head injuries. The plane also hit a station wagon, causing minor injuries to an unidentified woman who initially refused treatment, Marzo said.

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James Mayfield, the pilot of the plane, was admitted to Valley Presbyterian Hospital with minor head and shoulder injuries, a hospital spokesman said. The co-pilot of the plane, who was not identified, was admitted to Northridge Hospital Medical Center with minor injuries to the neck and back.

Harvey Shirely, a passenger in the jet, said the plane was completing a flight from Tucson when the hydraulic fuel system controlling the brakes, flaps and landing gear suddenly went dead.


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