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Small plane crashes in shopping center parking lot near airport

KTVZ News Team

By Tim Callery

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    GILFORD, New Hampshire (WMUR) — A small plane crashed around 4 p.m. Thursday near Laconia Municipal Airport.

Witnesses said the plane hit a building before crashing in the parking lot of Patrick’s Plaza, a shopping center at Weirs Road and Lake Shore Road in Gilford.

Officials said the pilot was the only person on board the plane. The pilot was taken to Concord Hospital for a trauma evaluation, but does not have life-threatening injuries.

“He had a big gash on his head,” one witness said. “And it was bad. But he was awake the whole time. He said he could feel his hands, he could feel his feet.”

Pam Pierson was driving down Route 11 when she noticed the plane was lying low.

“I was like well there is an airport right there so it has to be landing, but it was like wobbling,” Pierson said. “And I said it looks like it’s going to crash, and all of a sudden it disappeared.”

The plane hit the roof of CFO Speed Shop before it hit the ground. The shop’s owner said he heard and felt a loud bang, and came out to find the plane in the parking lot.

“Basically, it was just a normal day and sounded like something impacted the building, or an earthquake, or some sort of natural thing,” said Craig Finnerty, owner of CFO Speed Shop. “I exited my building and came around the corner, and unfortunately it was a small aircraft. It struck the back portion of the building and ended up upside-down and made a mess.”

No one in the building was hurt.

Officials said the plane crashed as the pilot attempted to land at the nearby Laconia Municipal Airport. Officials tell News 9 the building the plane hit is structurally OK.

The NTSB will be taking over the investigation into the crash as officials try to figure out what caused this plane to come down.

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