A small plane made an emergency landing in a New Jersey mall parking lot Tuesday, slightly injuring the instructor and student inside but apparently hurting no one on the ground.

The single-engine Cessna 172 had recently taken off from nearby Essex County Airport in Caldwell when the pilot reported a rough-running engine, said Arlene Salac, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane landed shortly after noon on a road leading to the parking lot of the Rockaway Townsquare mall in Rockaway Township. It ended up in a parking area near the entrance to a J.C. Penney department store.

"It landed somewhere on the outer perimeter road to the mall. It was nowhere close to the building or cars," said mall spokesman Kevin Ryan.

The front end of the plane appeared to be damaged, said J.C. Penney employee Nadia Acevedo.

"It's not crumpled up or anything," she said. "It was like, kind of into the ground, like the nose of the plane was in the ground."

The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries, the FAA said; there were no reports of injuries to anyone on the ground. Local police said the plane's occupants were a flying instructor and a student.

The plane is registered to Genesis One Inc. in Paramus.

The landing marks the third accident involving small planes in New Jersey this month.

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