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Small plane crashes at Merced Airport; No injuries reported

A crash landing involving a single engine aircraft was reported at Merced Airport around 11:30 p.m. on Monday, although officials said luckily no one was hurt.

Ron Elliott, airport superintendent, said the crash landing happened after the plane’s three landing gears failed to deploy. Elliott said the pilot, who was flying from Southern California, approached the asphalt runaway and the plane slid on its belly several feet, until it finally came to a stop.

Although the plane’s propeller was destroyed during the rough landing, the plane otherwise received little damage, Elliott said. The pilot walked away from the scene and was uninjured, Elliott said.

Merced Fire Department Chief Mitten said about 12 firefighters responded to the scene, but a fire wasn’t reported.

Elliott said the airport’s runway was closed for about three and a half hours, as crews removed the airplane from the runway with a crane. Still, the incident had no effect on airplane traffic because it happened late at night, Elliott said

The plane was an 1973 Piper Archer II, Elliott said.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or