Plane Crashes into Hayward Apartment Complex -- Two Dead

APRIL 24, 1999

The pilot of a small plane made a dramatic but unsuccessful emergency landing in Hayward yesterday, narrowly avoiding dozens of residents of the Park Orchard Apartments on Orchard Avenue. The residential complex consists of 12 to 15 buildings with eight to 12 apartments each.

The pilot was critically injured, while his two passengers were killed.

Witnesses said they heard a plane careening out of control shortly before 8 p.m. The plane clipped a power line, grazed the roof of the apartment complex, hit a vacant recreation room, then clipped a eucalyptus tree before slamming into the top of the building's carport. Before hitting the tree, the plane was headed straight for one of the complex's buildings.

One of the plane's wings, after clipping the power line, fell almost 150 feet from where the rest of the plane landed and just half a block from a busy park. The plane, a Cessna Centurion 210, was on its way to Hayward Airport, and the pilot reported fuel troubles to the airport tower just before the crash.

The two passengers were Bernice Hoffman, wife of the pilot Robert Hoffman, and Carole Wright, a San Lorenzo resident.

Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, Daily Review