A small plane crashed into a northern Louisiana McDonald's parking lot near the drive-thru on Tuesday, injuring the pilot and wrecking a car, an airport official said.
The Beechcraft Bonanza plane was preparing to land at the nearby Monroe Regional Airport when it clipped a tree, began to spin and then crashed into the parking lot at the fast food restaurant, said Ron Phillips, the airport's director.
The McDonald's is heavily trafficked, and an office building across the street houses state Department of Transportation officials, but no one else was injured in the crash, Phillips said.
"It could have been a lot worse," he said.
The pilot was identified by authorities as Michael Ray Martin, 41, of Calhoun, Louisiana.
He was airlifted to a hospital in Shreveport, about 100 miles (160 km) to the west, the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office said in a statement. No information was available on his condition.
According to MyArkLaMiss.com, Greg Brown from Brown's Feed & Chemical, Michael Ray Martin, 41, of Calhoun, was piloting the plane when it crashed this morning.
Brown says Martin was taking part in a test flight after repairs were made on the plane after some mechanical issues. Martin told deputies that engine quit on him while in the air, according to officials.
The plane took off from the Carmi Municipal Airport in southeastern Illinois at 8:00 a.m., the Monroe-based News-Star newspaper reported.
Monroe Municipal Airport Manager Ron Phillips said the plane “was flying patterns and ran into difficulty.” He said the plane clipped several pine trees, causing it to spin out of control before crashing and the plane was in “pretty bad shape.”
“Part of the plane is up against the McDonald’s sign post and it looks like maybe one car was damaged. The plane broke apart, but it doesn’t seem like (there was) any other major damage to any facilities around,” Phillips said.
(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans and Lisa Bose McDermott in Texarkana, Ark.; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sandra Maler)