MUKILTEO — Nobody was seriously injured Tuesday when a small plane crashed on the Mukilteo Speedway, clipping power lines before impact and raining down burning fuel on cars below.
The mishap occurred about 3:45 p.m. near the intersection of Harbour Pointe Boulevard and the Speedway, also known as Highway 525. The Speedway was closed for more than an hour.
Video by Guanting Li via You Tube
Juan Teran, 42, of Arlington, was at the intersection when he saw the plane coming toward him. Then he couldn’t see anything because of the flames in front and along the sides of the white pickup he was driving.
He told himself: “Man, I think we are not going to make it.”
His next thought turned to his daughter’s quinceañera set for Saturday. He did not want to miss the coming-of-age celebration marking her 15th birthday.
Like Teran, Steven Welch, 29, was working in Mukilteo on Tuesday. He was behind Teran at the red light. He put his car in reverse. His sedan was not damaged.
“I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I saw so much fire I just got out. I felt the heat go right by.”
The pilot, an Oregon man, told police the plane lost power not long after takeoff from nearby Paine Field, said officer Myron Travis, a spokesman for the Mukilteo Police Department.
The pilot tried to restart the engine about 500 feet above ground, but when that didn’t work, he began looking for places to set down.
He headed toward Harbour Pointe Boulevard, but along the way clipped power lines and a traffic signal, Travis said.
The impact ruptured the plane’s fuel cells, dropping aviation fuel on cars below. The fuel ignited, singeing two or more vehicles.
Traffic was blocked in both directions. Police urged drivers to avoid the area.
The plane was a Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six, a single-engine propeller plane popular with general-aviation pilots. It is based out of Klamath Falls, Oregon. The plane is a half-century old, having been built in 1966.
The pilot had flown to the area to pick up seats for a Falcon 50 operated by Emergency Airlift, which offers charter and medical flights, a company official said.
About 9,000 customers lost power in the Mukilteo area, said Neil Neroutsos, spokesman for the Snohomish County Public Utility District. Power was restored about 40 minutes later, he said.
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.