Massive fireball after dramatic small plane crash caught on video

Dramatic plane crash

LOS ANGELES -- A fiery plane crash in Washington Tuesday was captured on dashcam video.


The video shows the plane flying low and slow. It clips some power lines, then a stoplight and bursts into flames before hitting a busy street.

Bystanders quickly extinguished the flames.

"That's probably the closest I've ever come to really thinking like 'this is the end,'" said witness Amanda Hayes.

Witness Amanda Hayes CBS News

Hayes' van was clipped by the plane's wing.

"It looked suspiciously low and couple seconds later I was like it's too low, it collided with the telephone pole, hit the ground. It exploded and hit all the cars in the line including our van," she said.

Officials believe the Piper Cherokee likely experienced engine problems right after takeoff from Paine Field airport in Everett, Washington.

"As he was losing power and couldn't restart he began to descend rapidly and saw that Harbor Pointe Boulevard was a clear and open roadway," said Officer Myron Travis.

CBS News

Both people aboard the plane walked away from the crash, including Justin Dunaway, who is now working with investigators. 

Alex Abbassi CBS News

Former airline pilot Alex Abbassi says the pilot's split-second decision to head for the road instead of turning back to the airport likely saved lives.

"He definitely made the right decision," Abbassi said. "Usually anything less than a thousand feet is not going to be enough altitude for pilots to go back and land on the runway they took off from."

So the roadway became the runway, and not one person was seriously injured on the ground.