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Banner plane crashes at University of Florida campus in Gainesville

UPD says two people were on board the Cessna but the injuries are not life-threatening.
UPD says two people were on board the Cessna but the injuries are not life-threatening.
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Updated: 10/27/2013 1:58 pm

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A plane towing an advertising banner crashed on the University of Florida campus Saturday, according to the law enforcement at the scene.

UF police 
report the plane lost power while flying over Gainesville and the pilot was able to let go of the banner before crashing into vehicles parked at Flavet Field.

According to UF police, 
the crash occurred just after 4 p.m. when the pilot, Graham Hill, 28, and his passenger, Ian Conrad, 26, started experiencing trouble with the plane. 

The single engine Cessna 172 was towing a large banner over the campus area when suddenly the banner dropped and shortly after that the plane crashed on the field.

UF police said the two men were found outside the plane when crews arrived on the 
scene. According to UF police, they were transported to the UF Health Gainesville with non-life threatening injuries.

According to witnesses the plane did not make any noise as it got closer to the ground.

"It was right in front of us. I shook literally for about 30 minutes. I was shaking because it was so unreal and surreal," said Cindy Strube.

No one on the ground was injured but one pick-up 
truck was badly damaged. A Gainesville Fire Rescue spokesperson said the pilot was able to avoid "a mass casualty event." 

Action News found a 
picture of an identical small plane with the same tail numbers on the Facebook page of Beach Banners in Jacksonville. Beach Banners plane suffered a similar incident in January, 2012, when another one of their pilots crash landed in a shopping center parking lot. The pilot died from his injuries. 

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office aviation unit will complete the investigation into the cause of the crash. Action News contacted 
the National Transportation Safety Board, but their public affairs department has been furloughed and are not giving any updates to the media at this time.

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