By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A small plane crash into a San Jose home is the latest incident at a local airfield where neighborhood residents say it is a tragedy waiting to happen.

Three people aboard the Cessna 172 were hurt Sunday when it smashed into a home a few hundred feet from the runways at Reid-Hillview airport. One was in critical condition Monday.

There were three other people inside the home on the 2100 block of Evelyn Avenue, but they were not hurt.

Neighbors have been for years demanding that the airport be closed down.

Monday, as planes from Reid-Hillview continued to fly overhead, Juan Gonzalez was still picking up the pieces from where the student-piloted plane crashed in to the side of his house.

“I was like in shock you know? To see the injured people there,” said Gonzalez. “I saw that my kids were okay, so I think, okay, accidents happen.  But I never thought it would happen at my house.”

Investigators said the plane had a mechanical problem shortly after taking off around 3pm Sunday, and was trying to return to the airport.

But the plane clipped trees and electrical wires before slamming into the lawn and skidding into Gonzalez’s garage.

The fire department yellow-tagged the home and the Gonzalez family has had to move out to a motel pending a structural inspection. They can’t even get their cars out.

“My kids need it to go to work and to school,” said Gonzalez. “And right now, we don’t have no place to live.”

He’s thankful no one lost their life, but fears what else could happen. “We have been lucky, but luck is not going to last forever,” he said.

Another neighbor, Ted Johnson, has a pile of news clippings of all the plane crashes and incidents at Reid-Hillview over the last three decades, as part of a neighborhood effort to close the airport.

Among the incidents, a crash last August when a plane trying to take off from Reid-Hillview struck a fence and was lucky not to hit any cars on Ocala Avenue.

Johnson says the airport is too close to crowded neighborhoods and is no place for student pilots to learn.

“They make stupid mistakes,” said Johnson. “They fly too low, they can’t recover from an engine failure. They’re going to go into a house.”

Reid-Hillview’s administrator was not in his office and did not respond to an interview request. But the latest incident has renewed calls for the airport to close.

“I don’t think this is a good place to give a lesson to the people,” said Gonzalez. “Because it’s all houses around. They should move it out to the fields.”

 

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