‘Experienced pilot’ flies under overpass to make emergency landing on California freeway

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- A man described as an "experienced pilot" flew under an overpass and made a safe emergency landing on a Southern California freeway on Sunday after his plane experienced engine failure.

A small plane landed on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa on Jan. 28, 2018. (Credit: Southern Counties News)

A small plane landed on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa on Jan. 28, 2018. (Credit: Southern Counties News)

No injuries were reported, the fire department said.

The pilot, who only gave his first name as Izzy, and his friend were heading to Van Nuys from San Diego when the "engine quit" on them, according to KTLA.

Izzy said he had a choice of flying the Beechcraft Bonanza to John Wayne Airport in Orange County or landing on the beach, but strong winds prevented from getting to the airport.

“I saw an opening on the highway and I went for it right away," Izzy said. "I had to make a last-minute, last-second judgment on whether or not we could make it over, and we didn’t have the airspeed to make it over, so I went under it."

Costa Mesa Fire Capt. Chris Coatez said the call came in as a plane crash at the Orange County Fairgrounds, but first responders found the plane was intact.

A firefighter inspects a plane that landed safely on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa on Jan. 28, 2018. (Credit: Southern Counties News)

A firefighter inspects a plane that landed safely on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa on Jan. 28, 2018. (Credit: Southern Counties News)

He said it was a "complete miracle" that traffic was light on the freeway when the pilot decided to land there.

Coatez said strong winds worked for the pilot and against him, adding they prevented him from getting all the way to the airport, but helped him land safely on the freeway.

Videos from the scene showed the plane on the right side of the highway with no visible damage.

Drivers recorded videos of the plane as they passed by it on the highway.

Several lanes of the highway were closed as California Highway Patrol officials tried to get the plane off the road, causing a backup.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident, a spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.

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