A small plane crashed on the 405 freeway near John Wayne Airport around 9:30 this morning. Amazingly, no one was seriously injured.
Radio chatter had two people being ejected from the aircraft. The 62-year-old pilot, a man, only suffered facial injuries and back pain. His 55-year-old passenger, a woman, sustained a head cut. The Orange County Fire Authority says the pair were pulled away from the wreckage by an off-duty Avalon firefighter. Both were sent to a hospital.
No cars were struck nor drivers injured after the belly of the plane smashed onto the southbound 405 near the MacArthur Boulevard exit.
Large plumes of black smoke were seen rising from the plane, with a fireball flames at the point of impact.
This video shows the point of impact and ensuing fireball:
John Wayne Airport says the plane is a Cessna 310. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor says the pilot radioed in an emergency just after departure. His agency reports the twin-engine plane was registered to Twin Props LLC in Santa Ana.
The airport stopped arrivals briefly but later returned to normal operations.
"Just saw a plane just crash land on the 405 freeway right in front of me! Scariest thing I've ever seen!" tweets @TubbyR.
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One witness, a lawyer whose office is near the airport, said the Cessna had taken off toward the 405, as opposed to the usual takeoff route toward the ocean, and that he saw the plane listing and flying low before it smashed into the ground.
"You could just tell something wasn't right," said the man, who suspects the pilot was trying to return to the airport. He did not hear the impact.
All lanes of the 405 freeway heading north are open but some southbound lanes were still closed and traffic was backed up about a mile as of late this morning. Some cars right next to the crash site remained trapped.