Plane crashes on Gainesville road

Pilot, passenger taken to hospital in stable condition

By Heather Leigh , Nicholas Jones

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Shortly after noon Sunday a small plane crash-landed on Northeast Waldo Road, according to the Gainesville Police Department.

Police tell News4Jax the pilot of the single engine Cessna, Walter Amon, 61, reported a fire in the cockpit. Amon and a passenger were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

One man who saw what happened came to the aid of the two people on board the plane. Rusty Hoffman was mowing the lawn of a nearby business when he saw the plane go down. He said his military background and training kicked in.

"There was a lot of luggage in there, so I guess they were traveling. Lot of clear containers and the lady had a couple lacerations on her legs, and a big one on her head. I just held paper towels on it and the other guy was being assisted by someone else," Hoffman said.

Hartman said he even joked with the woman on board, saying her makeup still looked good even after being in a plane crash. He said that in a terrifying time, the woman laughed, which told him she was aware of her surroundings and doing well.

The Gainesville Police Department responded shortly after, blocking off the road in all directions while investigators worked to clean up the debris and snap pictures of the damage.

“It still amazes me that the pilot was able to land this plane in the middle of a major highway for Gainesville and not hit any other cars, people, pedestrians, or buildings in the area," GPD Lt. Tscharna Senn said. "To me that is an amazing feat. But that is what happened."

"They (police) responded fast, and they blocked off as much as they could and then let the traffic through," said Hoffman. 

News4Jax looked up the plane number and found that the plane is registered in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Both Amon and the passenger are expected to be OK.

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