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1 dead, 1 injured after small plane crashes onto shopping mall roof in Torrance

A small plane crashed onto the roof of a Torrance shopping center Thursday after taking off from a nearby airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Two people were on board. One person died and the other was critically injured and taken to a hospital, according to the Torrance Police Department.

For the record:
7:54 PM, Sep. 19, 2019 An earlier version of this report referred to Joey’s Smokin’ BBQ as Joe’s Smokin’ BBQ.

The single-engine Cessna 177 crashed under unknown circumstances shortly after departing from the Torrance Municipal Airport, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said. There were no injuries reported on the ground.

The crash occurred around 12:15 p.m. at Rolling Hills Plaza in the 25300 block of Crenshaw Boulevard. Pamela Comstock, an employee of Request Mortgage, witnessed the crash from a balcony several feet away.

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Comstock, who has worked in the area since 1995, said she’s used to the noise of nearby planes. But the sound of this particular engine was different, she said, and she knew something was wrong almost immediately.

“I got up from my chair and I saw a shadow of it coming over the building,” she said. “It kind of dropped out of the sky.”

The plane crashed onto the roof of a hair salon and dangled over the building’s edge, close to a delivery truck.

The shopping center, which also has a California Pizza Kitchen and Joey’s Smokin’ BBQ, was evacuated.

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Comstock said she was trying to get back to work to take her mind off of the deadly incident.

“It’s something you keep replaying in your head,” she said. “It’s something you can’t unsee.”


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