Small plane crashes on California highway, two critically injured

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 4:30am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 4:30am

A small plane crash-landed on a freeway in Orange County, California, on Friday, critically injuring two people on board and snarling traffic through the area, authorities said.

The fiery crash was captured on cell-phone video by a driver and broadcast on local KABC-TV. It showed the twin-engine Cessna 310 as it passed low over the northbound side of the San Diego (405) freeway in southern California before slamming into the ground on the southbound lanes.

The aircraft, which appeared to be rapidly losing power, is seen levelling out slightly before hitting the ground and bursting into flames about 1,000 feet from a runway at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the pilot declared an emergency shortly after taking off from John Wayne airport and was trying to return there when the plane crashed.

Captain Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority told KABC that the plane clipped a car on the freeway immediately before crashing, but the occupants of the vehicle were not hurt.

Televised images showed the wreckage resting in the southbound lanes of the freeway immediately adjacent to John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, covered in fire-retardant foam and surrounded by police and firefighters.

The plane was still on the freeway several hours after the crash and investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and John Wayne Airport were said to be en route to the scene.