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Small Plane Crash Lands on California Highway, Pilot and Passenger Both Escape Alive

·2-min read
Small Plane Crash Lands on California Highway, Pilot and Passenger Both Escape Alive

A small plane crash landed on the 91 freeway in Corona, California on Tuesday — and the pilot and the sole passenger were miraculously uninjured.

As reported by the Corona Fire Department on social media, the single-engine Piper PA-32 crashed on the Eastbound 91 between Lincoln and Main at approximately 12:30p.m. before going up in flames. The two occupants were able to safely exit the wreckage before it caught on fire.

Firefighters at the scene quickly extinguished the fire that erupted about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Keith Ballantyne to The Los Angeles Times, the plane was attempting to land at the Corona Municipal Airport when "possible engine failure" forced it to make an emergency landing on the freeway.

Plane Crash in Corona California
Plane Crash in Corona California

Corona Fire Dept./Twitter

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Speaking to the TODAY show, the plane's pilot Andrew Cho says he's "ecstatic" to be alive. In the interview, Cho revealed that he and a friend were taking a lunchtime leisure flight to Catalina island when he began to have engine trouble and had to quickly decide where to land.

"In my judgment, we weren't going to be able to make the airport landing field without possibly hitting a building," Cho said on the NBC morning show, "and so I had to make a decision to land on the freeway."

"I was pretty scary," Cho added to TODAY.

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The plane crashed into a Toyota pickup truck with three passengers. Besides some damage to the rear of the vehicle, the passengers remain unharmed.

Driver Armando Ramirez told NBC Los Angeles he was traveling from Santa Ana to visit family when he felt the crash on his truck. He told the outlet he feels very fortunate to avoid much worse.

"Absolutely very fortunate today," said California Highway Patrol Capt. Levi Miller to KABC. "The traffic was light and the pilot appears to have made some good landing navigations and avoided what could have been a very bad tragedy."

Plane Crash in Corona California
Plane Crash in Corona California

Corona Fire Dept./Twitter

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The Federal Aviation Administration responded to the incident stating that they will be investigating the crash, the Times reported.

"The FAA will investigate," the administration said in a statement obtained by KABC, "The agency does not identify people involved in aircraft accidents or incidents."