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Couple Injured After Small Plane Crash-Lands On CSUN Soccer Field

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NORTHRIDGE (CBSLA.com) — A small aircraft reportedly attempting an emergency landing Sunday crashed in Northridge.

The accident occurred about 3:12 p.m. in the 17900 block of Plummer Street on the soccer field of the California State University, Northridge campus just west of Zelzah Avenue.

Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, says two people were on board the plane at the time.

Both were assessed by paramedics on scene and have been transported to Northridge Hospital for treatment of minor to moderate injuries. None of the injuries is considered life-threatening.

According to Humphrey, the small Cessna crashed through a chain link fence before overturning. Firefighters also had to put out a small fire.

The plane was headed to John Wayne Airport in Orange County from Nevada when it reportedly began having engine trouble.

Jeff Nguyen, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, spoke to several witnesses.

Said Erick Rodriguez, “I just looked to my left and I kinda did a double take. You don’t see a plane coming down in the middle of CSUN any given day. Looked to the left. I was amazed what happened. The plane hit the fence. And from the moment I parked my car I knew what was going to happen.”

Raul Ruiz saw the plane clip a tree on the way down. “I saw the tree shear off the wing. The plane turned over and I ran over there. I was worried it was going to burst into flames. And already bystanders were taking out a young lady. They took her out and laid her on the field and then an older gentleman was taken out.”

One witness got blood on his hands helping the male passenger. “When I pulled him out,” said Semaj Ray, “he had blood dripping down his face. So I just grabbed him and helped him get to the ground.”

Reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, said the pilot and his passenger have been identified as James Whiteside and Shauna Whiteside, a husband and wife from Santa Ana, both in their 60s.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to investigate.

Humphrey said no buildings or students on campus were endangered.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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