The pilot of a small plane that crashed in the parking lot of a Kearny Mesa shopping center remained hospitalized Thursday, recovering from injuries.
The fixed wing, single-engine Mooney M20L crashed in a parking lot between a Target store and the Costco Business Center off Convoy Street at around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. It landed near parked cars but away from the main entrances to the stores, missing bystanders.
The pilot survived but her 78-year-old passenger, identified as Joy Gorian, suffered serious burns and later died at a local hospital.
On Thursday, investigators said the pilot – who is certified to fly – was conscious but will be given more time to recover before being interviewed by officials.
Family members have identified the woman as 52-year-old Devon Logan. A photo obtained by NBC 7 shows Logan with her husband at a fundraiser for Makua, a Point Loma-based organization that raises money for foster children. Logan is an active volunteer with the organization.
NBC 7 spoke with former neighbors who said the Logan family is great. They’re thankful Devon survived.
“It was miraculous – landing the plane like that,” said former neighbor Lenore Bratley.
On Thursday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it had launched its preliminary investigation into the crash. Officials began hauling away portions of the wreckage from the parking lot.
The pieces of the plane will be taken to Phoenix were the Federal Aviation Administration will continue to examine the evidence and assist the NTSB in the investigation.
Officials said that investigation could take anywhere from six months to a year to complete.
At this point, the events leading up to the crash remain unclear. An NTSB official said the aircraft had flown to Riverside and back to San Diego earlier in the day.
It bounced on a landing at Montgomery Field on runway 27 and shortly thereafter, the pilot radioed a distress call saying she was having problems and was losing power. As the plane went down, the right wing scraped the roof of the Target before hitting a light pole and crashing.