A single-engine plane crashed on a street in New Carollton yesterday and flipped over and burst into flames in the front yard of a home, critically injuring the pilot.
No one was in the house at 8313 Carollton Parkway when the plane crashed at 5:45 p.m., narrowly missing a row of houses.
The pilot -- the plane's only occupant -- was identified as Rafael Berenguer, 34, of Perth, Australia. He was taken to the Washington Hospital Center suffering from burns over 60 percent of his body. No one else was injured.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the flames, which destroyed the plane and caused minor damage to a car parked on the street, fire officials said.
Jeanne West, 16, who lives in the neighborhood, was outside watching the sunset when she saw the plane. "It was flying pretty low and I thought it was going to hit a tree" before it crashed, she told a reporter last night.
"By the time I got there, the pilot of the plane had gotten out and three men had put out the flames on his clothes," she said. "I ran up and asked what I could do to help.I knew we should keep him warm because someone burned like that might be in shock."
She ran to several nearby homes until she found someone home. A little girl answered the door and gave her a blanket and a pillow. West said she took the items back to the injured man, covered him with the blanket and put his head on the pillow. "I stayed with him until the ambulances came, then I wanted to go home and just be alone," she said.
West is a student at Elizabeth Seaton High School in Bladensburg, where she had taken a ninth grade first aid course. "You don't think you will remember all they teach in the course, but when you need it, you know," she said.
The plane, a Mooney owned by Globe Aero Inc. of Florida, took off from Lakeland, Fla., and was flying to the College Park airport when its engine failed, Maryland state police said.