Plane Crashes on California Freeway

Somehow, only one person other than plane's occupants was injured
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 30, 2017 6:19 PM CDT
Plane Crashes on California Freeway
Flame and smoke erupt from a twin-engine prop jet after it crashed on Interstate 405, just short of the runway at John Wayne Orange County Airport, rear, in Costa Mesa, Calif., Friday, June 30, 2017.   (Wendy Haskell)

A small twin-engine plane dropped out of the sky and exploded in flames on a busy freeway near a Southern California airport Friday morning, injuring the two people aboard but clipping only one passing vehicle, a fire official said. The Cessna 310 aircraft crashed on Interstate 405, just short of a runway at John Wayne Airport in Costa Mesa around 9:30am, said Ian Gregor, a spokesperson for the FAA. The pilot declared an emergency shortly after taking off from the airport and was trying to return when the crash occurred, the AP reports. The two people who were aboard the plane, a man and a woman, were taken to a hospital with traumatic injuries, Orange County Fire Capt. Larry Kurtz said.

The plane clipped a blue pickup truck as it crashed on the freeway, but the driver suffered only a bruised elbow, Kurtz said. "The fact that a plane was able to land and only strike a single vehicle is extraordinary," he added. Video posted on social media showed the plane engulfed in flames and plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky. Traffic was backed up for miles on the major route between Los Angeles and San Diego as fire crews worked to extinguish the blaze. "The plane collided, spun across the freeway, and burst into flames," Kurtz said. The wreckage was strewn across several lanes of the freeway. The pickup truck's driver told KCBS-TV he initially thought a large truck had slammed into the back of his car and then saw flames quickly surrounding his vehicle. (More plane crash stories.)

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