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Single-Engine Plane Makes Emergency Landing on 55 Fwy in Costa Mesa

Posted on January 31, 2018

Single-Engine Plane Makes Emergency Landing on 55 Fwy in Costa MesaA small single-engine plane made a daring emergency landing in the northbound lanes of the Costa Mesa 55 Freeway after its engine failed and strong headwinds prevented the 24-year old experienced pilot from getting close to John Wayne Airport early Sunday evening, Jan. 28th. Israel “Izzy” Slod of North Hollywood, and his passenger Daniel Gross, departed from a small San Diego airstrip en route to Van Nuys flying in a 1971 G33 Beechcraft Bonanza, a weekend excursion the pair have made numerous times.  Just before 7:30 p.m. The plane was flying over the Pacific Ocean about 2 miles off the coast when they started losing altitude and not gaining distance. Slod said during an interview after the landing that the engine would not respond and would not restart. Slod contacted John Wayne’s air traffic control tower to report engine failure and informed them that he was going to make an emergency landing on the only available area he could find that could function as a landing strip. Desperate the pair decided to land on the northbound lanes of the 55 Freeway just south of the Del Mar Avenue off-ramp.

“The choice was between landing at John Wayne or the beach. We tried to make it to John Wayne, and we couldn’t make it. So, I saw an opening on the highway and I went for it right away,” Slod said. Slod, who Gross said has been flying for about 7 years, landed the aircraft without hitting any cars and neither man was injured during the landing. “Typically on a Sunday night, you have a lot of traffic coming from the beach, going back home. It was very fortunate that he didn’t hit any vehicles or cause any injuries,” said Florentino Olivera with the CHP.

The small aircraft was towed to the nearby Orange County Fairgrounds around 11 p.m. Slod said the wings would probably be removed in preparation for the plane’s transport to Van Nuys Airport, where it is based, on a flatbed truck. Federal Aviation Administration investigators were examining the aircraft on Monday morning in an effort to determine the cause of the incident.

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