No one was hurt when the plane touched down on the southbound side of the freeway near Basilone Road around 12:45 p.m.
The single-engine Piper PA24 had been headed from John Wayne Airport in Orange County to Montgomery Field in San Diego when it had a “mechanical failure,” California Highway Patrol (CHP) said. There was no traffic in the area as the pilot guided the aircraft down to the freeway, officers said, and the plane touched down without hitting anything.
The pilot — who was uninjured — was then able to maneuver the plane into the right lane and eventually completely off the freeway, where it came to a rest on the gravel shoulder.
Officers blocked the right southbound lane, and traffic moved by slowly for about 45 minutes as drivers reduced speed to take in the unusual sight. By 2:30 p.m., the plane had been moved to the center divider and all traffic lanes had been reopened. CHP said authorities were working on a plan to remove the plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told News Nation affiliate KSWB that the pilot was the only person on board. The plane is registered to a Carmel Valley resident, according to FAA records. An agency spokesperson did not have any further information to share, but confirmed the FAA would investigate what led up to the landing.