A small plane made a dramatic crash landing on a California highway on Tuesday afternoon, hitting a truck full of people before bursting into flames. However, the pilot and passenger escaped unscratched and were seen walking away. A video of the incident shows the plane descending on the highway and then hitting a passing truck before it explodes.
Andrew Cho who was piloting the Piper Cherokee lost engine power and so decided to use the highway as a runway to land the plane. The plane crash landed into the eastbound lanes of the 91 Freeway in Riverside County near Lincoln Avenue just around 12:30 pm, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Dashcam footage captured the dramatic moment the aircraft managed to crash down in between vehicles on a busy afternoon. The video shows the plane dropping from the sky before one of the wings collided with a passing pickup truck, ripping one of its wings.
The pane then starts spinning on impact and starts scattering flammable fuel across the road's surface. However, the landing was virtually faultless.
The aircraft then caught fire as it swerved across the freeway's lanes before coming to rest on the shoulder.
Both the pilot and a passenger were able to safely exit the aircraft, according to CHP. The pickup which was struck by the plane had three people inside who were also fortunately unharmed.
A few moments later, passing drivers captured the moment Cho and the passenger escaped from the burning wreck with their lives as thick black smoke billowed into the air. According to CHP, the pilot claimed to have made an emergency landing on the road after an engine failure occurred as the aircraft was en route to Corona Municipal Airport.
Co later said that it was a miracle that he and the passenger survived the incident. "It felt like a hard bump. Hard to describe. We were four to five feet in the air when the plane stalled completely and fell to the ground," Cho told KTLA.
The Corona Fire Department has released a video that shows the jet engulfed in flames and spewing enormous plumes of smoke before a firefighter puts out the fire with water. A separate photo from the department shows the burnt aircraft's wreckage.
"(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," CHP Capt Levi Miller told KTLA.
Cho said that his ability to accomplish the successful crash landing was entirely due to his training. "Your training kicks in and you do the right thing. As long as you don't panic, you get the best outcome," he explained.
While the debris was cleaned and the Federal Aviation Administration's investigators worked to determine what caused the incident, portions of the freeway were shut down for a number of hours.