A small experimental, amphibious plane crashed into a Florida Publix Tuesday, injuring 5 people and causing shoppers to run into the streets in panic.
Three people were seriously injured after the plane experienced technical difficulties and crashed into a Publix at the Northgate Shopping Center around 7:20 PM EST, reported ABC.
The accident occurred during the store's busiest time. There were 35 shoppers and 33 employees inside when the plane hit.
It was pure pandemonium in there. People were just trying to get out, one customer told ABC News.
This kid started running towards us and he was just laid on the floor and his legs flailing, said another. He just kept on screaming over and over.
The pilot and co-pilot sustained serious burns and remain in the hospital. Customers said they saw the two climb out of the plane with their clothes on fire.
The pilot and co-pilot were both amazingly able to get out of the plane and out of the store, Pat Kuehn of the Volusia County Fire Services told local station WFTV.
Three customers were hospitalized, one seriously for burns on his legs. Two have already been released from the hospital.
Shopper Lisa Cordova said she was thrown to the floor when the plane crashed into the meat department.
It was like something had exploded in the store, said Cordova to the Orlando Sentinel. The roof just started shaking. All the lights went out. Everybody was just screaming.
A meat department manager put out the fire and helped get customers out of the store.
Cordova, 39, said she saw a man trying to extinguish flames on his leg.
He was just pulling layers and layers of his skin off his leg, she said. Someone grabbed me and pushed me out of the store. I was like, 'I can't leave him there.'
Roth Peeler, who lives 300 feet behind Publix, said after the crash people were running to their cars to try and get out of the parking lot as quickly as possible.
A small single-engine, 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.
The crash occurred less than two miles west of the DeLand Municipal Airport where the plane had taken off moments before.
DeLand Mayor Robert Apgar said accidents like these are infrequent at the airport.
I don't mean to sound callous, but if it was a mechanical thing it could have happened five miles away, said Apgar. There have been thousands and thousands of flights over that Publix over the years - over neighborhoods - just as there are around the country.
Authorities still aren't sure what caused the crash. Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will examine the wreckage for clues.
One of the engines had some flames pop out of it, an eyewitness told ABC News. And we watched it like he was trying to turn around, then it dropped straight out of the sky.
Publix is closed until further notice. The plane remains in the store.
It's one of those situations; you never know what's going to happen, Sgt. Chris Estes of the DeLand Police Department told WFTV. We're just grateful nobody's been killed and the scene is no worse than it is.