- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. | A small plane made an emergency landing in a New Jersey mall parking lot Tuesday, slightly injuring the instructor and student inside but apparently hurting no one on the ground.

It was the second time a plane has used the parking lot as a runway.

The single-engine Cessna 172 had recently taken off from nearby Essex County Airport in Caldwell when the pilot reported a rough-running engine, said Arlene Salac, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane landed shortly after noon on a road leading to the parking lot of the Rockaway Townsquare mall in Rockaway Township. It ended up in a parking area near the entrance to a J.C. Penney department store.

“It landed somewhere on the outer perimeter road to the mall. It was nowhere close to the building or cars,” said mall spokesman Kevin Ryan.

In 1996, two people suffered minor injuries when their single-engine plane ran out of fuel and was forced to land there.

The front end of the plane in Tuesday’s crash appeared to be damaged after the landing, said J.C. Penney employee Nadia Acevedo.

“It’s not crumpled up or anything,” Miss Acevedo said. “It was like, kind of into the ground, like the nose of the plane was in the ground.”

Annmarie Hebbelinck, 40, was doing back-to-school shopping with her young children when they noticed the plane circling low overhead before coming down for a hard landing.

“We thought it was too low,” she said. “We watched it circle. Then it crashed into the ground, and we were in shock.”

There were no reports of injuries to anyone on the ground. The plane’s occupants were a flying instructor and a student who were taken to a hospital as a precaution, local police said.

The plane is registered to Genesis One Inc. in Paramus.

Associated Press writer Beth DeFalco contributed to this report.

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