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Plane lands in Wawa parking lot near Shannon Airport

UPDATE: Police have identified the pilot in Monday morning’s crash landing at Shannon Airport as Jerome Matthew Orlando, a 33-year-old from Broadway, Va., the same area as the company that owns the plane, according to records.

Virginia State Police Sgt. Les Tyler said Orlando flew out of Tampa, Fla., and was headed to Charlottesville, but was diverted because of the weather. There was a thick fog in the area this morning, even where the crash happened.

The plane was supposed to go to Stafford Regional Airport, but Orlando tried to land at Shannon Airport because he was low on fuel, said Tyler. Police didn’t say why Orlando landed the plane about 100 yards from the airport runway.

Orlando was not injured in the crash landing.

State police Trooper B. Dunn conducted the initial investigation. Federal Aviation Administration investigators will take over the case once they arrive at the scene.

 

UPDATE: The Virginia State Police aren’t saying what caused the “emergency landing” that left a 1968 Piper airplane in a grass island next to the Wawa convenience store off of Routes 2 and 17 in Spotsylvania at 5:50 a.m. Monday. They said the pilot was not injured. They have not yet released his name.

State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the investigation is ongoing.

Tire tracks could be seen in a field between Shannon Airport hangers and two buildings, one of which is the Rappahannock United Way next to Wawa. The plane careened through the United Way parking lot, knocking off the top of a mailbox, jumped over a ditch, skidded through a paved entry/exit to Wawa and ended up in the grass island near the two-lane road, where a steady stream of traffic passed the scene this morning.

Photo by Suzanne Carr Rossi

The pilot somehow dodged light poles and trees in the crash landing. But he missed the airport runway by about a hundred yards. Frank Hammon of WFLS News reportsthat the pilot forgot to fuel his plane before taking off.

United Way employees showed up for work at about 8 a.m. to find the damaged mailbox in the parking lot and the plane still resting in the grass nearby. Like many of Wawa’s customers, they gawked at the scene and snapped pictures with their cell phones.

Sarah Walsh has been with United Way for nine years. She said in the past things had been safe, but in “the last year we’ve seen a few accidents.”

It’s made her “a little nervous.”

Monday’s incident is the third plane crash at Shannon since September. The other two crashes were fatal.

On Sept. 29, 2012, Stafford County residents John Morton Jr., 48, and his 13-year-old son, Kyle, died when the Cessna they were in plummeted into the ground in the River Heights mobile-home park near the airport. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation found that pilot error caused the crash, noting that John Morton had alcohol in his system.

Edwin G. Hassel, a 22-year-old Spotsylvania resident, died in a crash at the airport last month. Initial reports indicated that Hassel had threatened suicide before the single-engine Cessna slammed into the ground and burst into flames next to the runway on July 22.

According to The Free Lance–Star’s archives, the other most recent fatal crash at Shannon Airport happened in 2006.

According to records, the plane in Monday’s crash is owned by Virginia Aircraft Rentals in Broadway, Va.

Along with the state police, the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate Monday’s crash.

ORIGINAL POST

Authorities are investigating the landing of an airplane in the parking lot of a Wawa store near Shannon Airport.

Frank Hammon of WFLS News reports that the pilot forgot to fuel his plane before taking off.

“The pilot was leaving Shannon Airport south of Fredericksburg when he realized his mistake and put the aircraft down in the parking lot of a nearby Wawa store on Tidewater Trail,” Hammon reports.

No injuries were reported.

Photo by Dave Ellis

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