A Northern California man flying into Visalia left his plane in an empty field Saturday morning after a gas leak forced him to make an emergency [crash] landing near the Visalia Municipal Airport.
Visalia Police and Fire departments were called to the scene about 9 a.m. Saturday, only to find the plane empty with no trace of a pilot or passengers.
The plane landed in a vacant lot near American Street and Nicholas Avenue in the Visalia Industrial Park. According to the airplane's registration data, the plane is co-owned by individuals who live in Benicia, a city in the East Bay Area near Oakland and San Francisco.
Ben Grant, a line assistant at the Visalia Municipal Airport, said the pilot was in a bit of a rush to get to his destination.
"The reason for him to be gone is because he had to go to a funeral," Grant said. "Someone from the airport saw the downed plane and asked if he needed any help."
Grant said an airport employee saw the downed plane and the man as he was leaving the airport.
The pilot, who was alone and uninjured, said he was late to the funeral.
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