Aircraft crashes through fence onto roadway in Snohomish, just misses vehicle

SNOHOMISH, Wash. — The pilot of a single-engine aircraft overshot the runway, plowed through a fence and landed inches away from a vehicle on Airport Way.

Now, two federal agencies are investigating this near-collision on a Snohomish roadway.

It was a startling sight: a single engine Cessna in the middle of Airport Way. Ryan Edwards and his sister were a car away.

"We were, like, should we get out?" he said. "Do we stay in?"

Edwards pulled out his cellphone and started recording.

"The plane just went through the fence and hit the front of the Subaru," he said.  "She wasn't going too fast."

''She'' is Sandra Howlett. Her vehicle was in the aircraft's path as it plowed into the fence and onto the roadway.

"Yeah, scary," she said.

Even an hour later, she was still shaken. The airplane had stopped just short of her car.

The fencing fell on her car, "not the plane itself," she said.  "He stopped in time and so did I. So thank goodness. It could have been a lot worse."

Investigators say the pilot had another adult and a child on board.  They were coming in for a landing just before 2 p.m. Saturday when he lost control.

"There's a little bit of damage down there," said Howlett, pointing to her car's front bumper. "But I think that was the fence again. Because I couldn't get out on my side. The fence was wrapped around us."

Edwards was asked if he thought the airplane might hit them.

"No," he said, "because we were going pretty slow. But, you know, a couple seconds faster or slower and it could have been a lot worse."

Sandra Howlett said she has traveled Airport Way many times.

"Oh, I've lived here 17 years," she said, "Yes, I use it all the time. I shall be looking a lot better next time."

The plane is owned by Snohomish Flying Service, based at Harvey Air Field.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating, trying to figure out why the Cessna didn't stop when the pilot tried to land.

The good news is that no one was hurt.

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