Plane crashes, catches fire on California freeway


CORONA, Calif. (NewsNation) — A pilot crash-landed a plane on a busy Southern California freeway Tuesday. The plane clipped a pickup truck carrying three people and then broke into flames on the side of the road.

The landing happened at 12:31 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of the 91 Freeway in Corona, about 20 miles east of Anaheim, according to the California Highway Patrol.

“I think we were probably about four or five feet up in the air before the plane stalled completely and we fell to the ground,” the plane’s pilot, Andrew Cho, said.

Dramatic video obtained by NewsNation affiliate KTLA shows the single-engine Piper Cherokee dropping from the sky, hitting the freeway and then leaving a trail of burning fuel as it slides toward the sound barrier. Cho was trying to land the plane at a nearby airport when it lost power.

“The pilot claims to have experienced possible engine failure on their final descent to Corona Municipal Airport,” CHP Capt. Levi Miller said.

Incredibly, both the pilot, the passenger on the plane and all three occupants in the truck escaped unharmed.

“(We’re) very fortunate today that the traffic was light, and the pilot appears to have made some good landing navigation that avoided what could have been a very bad tragedy,” Miller said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on the scene that the incident was a forced landing.

Cho said his training kicked in immediately, “If you don’t panic, then I guess this is about as best an outcome as you can want.”

Eastbound lanes of the 91 Freeway were closed for several hours as authorities investigated the crash and removed the wreckage.

NewsNation affiliate KTLA contributed to this report.

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