Plane Crash-Lands Between School Buses

LOS ANGELES -- A small plane crash-landed at a busy intersection yesterday and barreled between a pair of approaching school buses filled with children, ripping the fuel tanks from the plane but causing only minor injuries.

"It could have been a catastrophe," said Socorro Serrano, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Serrano said there were 42 students from Parthenia Street Elementary School and six from Lassen Elementary School on the buses.

The twin-engine Cessna 402 was headed for nearby Van Nuys Airport about 3 p.m. when it was forced to make an emergency landing on Hayvenhurst Avenue, airport spokeswoman Stacy Geere said.

As the plane reached Hayvenhurst and Parthenia Street, it collided with the buses as they entered the intersection from opposite directions. The impact tore the wingtips off the plane and wrecked the front ends of the buses. The plane rolled on for 1,500 feet before coming to a stop.

The 33-year-old female driver of one bus was hospitalized with neck and back injuries, officials said. A 6-year-old child was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The pilot climbed uninjured from his plane.

It was not immediately known why he was forced to land on the street, Geere said.

Priest Is Charged In Fake Money Scam

NEW YORK -- A Catholic priest who took a vow of poverty was charged with trying to smuggle into the country $2.4 billion in amateurish counterfeit Treasury notes.

The Rev. Mario Beato-Prieto, 35, a Spanish citizen who was running a parochial school in the Philippines, was arrested Tuesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport after Customs Service agents discovered he was carrying the fake currency in his luggage.

Prosecutors said the priest tried to sell 24 phony $100 million notes through a broker. He also had $2,000 in cash, plus a document indicating he had access to another $65 billion in fake currency.

But the notes looked more like $100 million bills adorned with a likeness of Grover Cleveland, marred by typos and runny ink.

They were confiscated after the priest arrived on a flight from South Korea.

Yesterday he pleaded not guilty to a charge of foreign transport of false documents and could be released under church arrest today if fellow priests sign a $25,000 bond.