A plane was forced to make an emergency landing on a Southern California highway Sunday night after the aircraft’s engine failed mid-flight.
Pilot Izzy Slod said he was forced to make a last-minute decision after strong winds prevented the small plane from making it to the nearest airport.
“You don’t have a choice,” he told KCBS. “You have maybe a minute, maybe two minutes max to figure something out and make decisions, and I went with my gut on the freeway.”
Slod explained he was originally aiming for a nearby beach, but was eventually forced to descend on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa.
The plane landed safely without causing any collisions and no one was injured, the Costa Mesa Fire Department confirmed.
Three of the five lanes were shut down near the Del Mar exit as emergency workers assessed the situation, and drivers witnessed the incident as they passed on the remaining lanes on the highway.
Slod and the plane’s only other passenger, Daniel Gross, explained they were flying to Van Nuys from San Diego when they lost power in the plane.
“You’re trained when you lose power to just look for open areas,” Gross said. “We tried to make it to the airport but we got pretty strong winds blowing us away.”
Slod attributes the safe landing to “a lot of luck,” adding: “[I’m] not a big believer but [it was] definitely a miracle.”