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Small plane crashes near McDonald's drive-thru in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A small plane crashed into a northern Louisiana McDonald's parking lot near the drive-thru on Tuesday, injuring the pilot and wrecking a car, an airport official said.

The Beechcraft Bonanza plane was preparing to land at the nearby Monroe Regional Airport when it clipped a tree, began to spin and then crashed into the parking lot at the fast food restaurant, said Ron Phillips, the airport's director.

The McDonald's is heavily trafficked, and an office building across the street houses state Department of Transportation officials, but no one else was injured in the crash, Phillips said.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said.

The pilot was identified by authorities as Michael Ray Martin, 41, of Calhoun, Louisiana.

He was airlifted to a hospital in Shreveport, about 100 miles (160 km) to the west, the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office said in a statement. No information was available on his condition.

The plane took off from the Carmi Municipal Airport in southeastern Illinois at 8:00 a.m., the Monroe-based News-Star newspaper reported.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans and Lisa Bose McDermott in Texarkana, Ark.; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sandra Maler)

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