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.


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.