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Small Plane Crashes Into Central Florida Publix

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DELAND, Fla. (CBSMiami/AP) — A frightening scene at a Central Florida Publix Monday night as a small plane slammed into the store packed with customers, injuring at least five people according to reports.

Several people in the Northgate Shopping Center in Deland dialed 911 around 7:20 p.m. to report the plane had plunged into the complex, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said. The callers described seeing the plane sputtering just before it plunged into the building and burst into flames.

The sheriff’s office said a pilot and a passenger from the plane were airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Details on their conditions were not immediately available.

Emergency workers reported at least five people in all had been injured, two of them with burns, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. A photographer for the newspaper who went to the shopping center soon afterward said the plane appeared to have crashed into the roof of a Publix chain supermarket.

Roth Peeler, who lives about 300 feet behind the store, told the Orlando Sentinel he saw the plane go down.

“A small single-engine, yellow plane spiraled right down and through the roof and just exploded,” Peeler said. “Not a piece of the plane came out. It’s all in the store.

“I went around the front and saw people running out of the store and trying to get into their cars and out of the parking lot.”

Deland is about 20 miles west of Daytona Beach and the shopping center is not far from the Deland Municipal Airport.

News photographs showed a dark column of smoke gushing from the rooftop of the shopping center. About 20 fire trucks at one point crowded about and firefighters atop a truck’s extension ladder poured streams of water on the flames.

Deland Fire authorities did not immediately respond to calls for comment from The Associated Press amid sketchy details of the scene.

Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told The Associated Press in an email that the FAA did not provide air traffic services for the flight and had no immediate information.

Flight details of the plane and the number of people aboard were not immediately available.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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