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Plane Makes Street Landing in L.A.

June 23, 1999

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A small plane crash landed at a busy intersection today and barreled between a pair of approaching school buses filled with children, ripping the fuel tanks from the plane but causing only minor injuries.

``It could have been a catastrophe,″ said Socorro Serrano, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Serrano said there were 42 students from Parthenia Elementary School and six from Lassen Elementary School on the buses.

The twin-engine Cessna 402 was headed for nearby Van Nuys Airport about 3 p.m. when it was forced to make an emergency landing on Hayvenhurst Avenue, airport spokeswoman Stacy Geere said.

As the plane reached Hayvenhurst and Parthenia Street, it collided with the buses as they entered the intersection from opposite directions. The impact tore the wing tips off the plane and wrecked the front ends of the buses. The plane rolled on for 1,500 feet before coming to a stop.

The 33-year-old female driver of one bus was taken to Northridge Medical Center in good condition with neck and back injuries, fire spokesman Brian Humphrey said. A 6-year-old child was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

``It was truly a miracle,″ Humphrey said.

Firefighters led children off the buses one at a time. Some children seemed dazed, while others skipped or hopped away from the wreckage. Firefighters passed out soft drinks to the youngsters as they sat waiting on curbs. Another bus was sent to pick up the children.

The pilot climbed uninjured from his plane. It was not immediately known why he was forced to land on the street, Geere said.

Van Nuys is six miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

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