Plane Makes Emergency Landing on California Freeway, Striking Several Cars in the Process

by Michael Freeman
Photo credit: mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images

Tuesday, an airplane made an emergency landing on a San Diego highway. Striking several cars in the process, the plane’s occupants were unharmed while two people from the damaged cars were transported to a local California hospital with minor injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reports the single-engine Piper PA-32 carried two people. Occurring around noon, the plane crash-landed on the southbound lane of Interstate 5.

While touching down on the southbound lane, the plane struck multiple cars. The landing damaged the plane’s wing, tearing a piece of it off completely, but otherwise, it is in good condition. The California Highway Patrol states the pilot wanted to land in a nearby field. However, the plane made an emergency landing after experiencing a mechanical malfunction.

A passenger from one of the struck cars gave her account of the incident to the local news station, KSWB-TV.

“We were just driving down the freeway, just talking when all of a sudden we just felt something huge hit us and glass shattered everywhere. All of sudden, we just see the plane in front of us.”

“We were scared out of our minds,” she added. The witness then noted another passing motorist in the area told her the plane “literally landed on top of our car.”

“There’s jet fuel all over the back of our back seat,” the woman continued. “All of my clothes are soaked and there’s glass everywhere. It’s definitely a story to tell our families.”

Pilot And 5 Guests Lose Lives When Sightseeing Plane Crashes In Alaska

Earlier this month, though not in California, another plane crash occurred and with more disastrous results. A sightseeing plane crashed in Alaska, resulting in the pilot and five passengers all losing their lives.

Occurring in early August, the plane crashed around the Misty Fjords National Monument near Ketchikan. Apparently, the occupants were sightseeing in southeast Alaska when the plane’s emergency alert sounded off around 11:20 a.m. Shortly afterward, the plane crashed. The Coast Guard sent a helicopter with two swimmers to help at the crash site, but sadly, there were no survivors.

Southeast Aviation LLC, the plane’s owner, released a statement regarding the tragedy to AP. “Our hearts are shattered at the loss of six people today. We are thinking of and grieving with the families of the five passengers and our dear friend and pilot aboard the aircraft.”

Though the victims were initially unable to be identified, we now know who they are. Mark Henderson, Jacquelyn Komplin, Andrea McArthur, Rachel McArthur, and Janet Kroll were the passengers. Rolf Lanzendorfer piloted the plane.

The passengers were on an excursion off the Holland America Line cruise ship, Nieuw Amsterdam. Cruise ship passengers frequently take sightseeing trips, which is how the five passengers ended up in the air.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA are investigating the crash’s cause.