A small plane made an emergency landing on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa on Sunday evening after its engine failed and powerful winds prevented the pilot from getting to the nearest airport. The pilot, who identified himself as 25-year-old Izzy Slod, told CBS he managed to land the Beech G33 safely on the highway after the small plane experienced engine failure.
Slod said he had been on his way to Van Nuys from San Diego with a friend when the plane's engine quit on them at around 7:50 p.m. The 25-year-old said he made a split decision to land on the freeway when strong winds prevented him from getting to the John Wayne Airport.
"I saw an opening on the highway and I went for it right away," said the pilot. "I had to make a last-minute, last-second judgment on whether or not we could make it over, and we didn't have the airspeed to make it over, so I went under it."
The friends were flying over the ocean a mile or two off the coast when they started gliding down and realized they couldn’t restart the engine. Slod said he quickly contacted air traffic control to alert them he would be landing a 1971 Beechcraft Bonanza on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa. The plane dodged traffic and landed in the number five lane shortly before 8 p.m. near the Del Mar exit, California Highway Patrol officials said.
"Wondering why there is so much traffic and it's because of a plane crash on the freeway," witness Nick Dunner posted on Instagram.
The plane didn't hit any cars or cause any collisions on the roadway. Authorities closed three northbound freeway lanes. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, said Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the agency.