PALM SPRINGS (CNS) – A small plane crashed Friday afternoon at Palm Springs International Airport, leaving the female pilot hospitalized in critical condition and temporarily halting airport operations.
Firefighters sent to the airport’s main runway about 2:10 p.m. found the Cessna-like plane crashed nose-first into the pavement, said Palm Springs Fire Department Capt. Nathan Gunkel.
The pilot — the plane’s sole occupant — was rushed to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs suffering from injuries described as major, Gunkel said. Her name was not immediately released.
An airport official said the pilot was taking off when something went wrong. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.
Gunkel said the crash temporarily shuttered all airport operations.
The main runway was expected to be closed through late Friday evening for the cleanup and preliminary investigation, according to Mitch Sanford, who works in airport operations.
The airport’s smaller runaway, and its taxiways, were quickly opened back up, Sanford said.
ALERT- units are on the scene of a small aircraft crash. 1 passenger with major injuries, the patient has been extricated and transported to a local hospital. pic.twitter.com/zcyMhdPXEP
— Palm Springs Fire Department (@PalmSpringsFire) December 4, 2020