DEL MAR, Calif. – At least five planes have made emergency landings on San Diego-area freeways in recent years, resulting in one death, multiple injuries and various amounts of damage.
The latest came Tuesday when a single-engine Piper PA-32 landed shortly after noon on Interstate 5 east of the Del Mar Fairgrounds, hitting a Kia sedan and losing part of a wing after it became lodged in the back of an Audi SUV. Two people in vehicles that were hit suffered minor injuries, but the pilot and passenger of the plane walked away uninjured, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA is investigating to determine what led the pilot to land on the freeway.
Four other incidents involving planes have been reported since 2013 throughout San Diego County.
Here’s a breakdown of the other incidents
Dec. 12, 2019 on Interstate 5 in Carlsbad
The most recent occurrence came in late 2019 when a single-engine Cessna 182 experienced engine trouble while traveling from El Monte to Carlsbad and made an emergency landing on Interstate 5.
Officials said the plane was roughly two miles from the McClellan-Palomar Airport when its pilot reported having engine trouble, leading the cockpit to be “filled with smoke.”
The pilot landed the plane in the freeway’s southbound lanes, south of Tamarack Avenue, the FAA said, with the plane skidding to a stop after its landing gear gave out. It remained upright and avoided hitting vehicles.
Neither occupant of the plane was injured and no other injuries were reported.
Oct. 19, 2018 on Interstate 8 in El Cajon
The previous year, a 25-year-old flight instructor landed a small plane on Interstate 8 in El Cajon.
Riding with a student-pilot at the time and preparing to land at Gillespie Field, the plane’s engine reportedly failed. The instructor then took over the aircraft and managed to land it safely on the interstate, avoiding homes, power lines and traffic in the process.
Nobody was injured as a result of the landing, which a California Highway Patrol official said was “nothing short of a miracle.”
April 12, 2016 on Interstate 15 in Pala Mesa
A woman was killed and five others were hospitalized when a small plane crashed into a car that was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 15 in the Pala Mesa area.
The plane, a single-engine Lancair IV, skidded along the slow lane of the freeway about 250 feet before crashing into the rear of a Nissan four-door sedan. Four people were in the sedan at the time of the crash, parked on the side of the freeway so the driver could sync his Bluetooth with the car, officials said.
The result of the crash killed 38-year-old San Diego County resident Antoinette Frances Isbelle, who was sitting in the back seat. Isbelle, a member of San Diego Roller Derby, was pronounced dead at the scene.
It took firefighters 25 minutes to extricate a 45-year-old woman riding in the front passenger seat and two other passengers, a 42-year-old driver and 36-year-old passenger riding in the back seat, did not require extrication.
“It’s amazing that there weren’t more injuries,” North County Fire Protection District spokesman John Buchanan said.
March 22, 2013 on SR-125 near Otay Mesa
Neither the pilot nor the single passenger in a single-engine Cessna 150C were hurt when it touched down for an emergency landing on state Route 125 in Otay Mesa.
The pilot reported losing power while approaching Brown Field airport in southern San Diego at the end of a flight out of Ensenada, Mexico, according to the FAA.
One lane of the freeway was closed while authorities arranged getting the plane off the route and “minimally affected” traffic in the area.