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Small plane makes emergency landing on Interstate 5 in San Clemente

Posted at 1:18 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 19:05:50-04

(KGTV) -- A small plane was forced to land on a freeway in San Clemente Monday, but no injuries were reported and no vehicles were hit.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the emergency landing was reported shortly before 12:50 p.m. on southbound Interstate 5 near Basilone Road, north of Camp Pendleton.

CHP officials said the pilot was flying from John Wayne Airport in Orange County to San Diego’s Montgomery Field when his plane began having mechanical issues while over Camp Pendleton.

The pilot, who has 18 years of flying experience, was aware he needed to land immediately and considered Highway 101 [Old Pacific Highway parallel to I-5] as an emergency landing spot before choosing I-5, according to the CHP.

The pilot was able to wait for a break in vehicles before guiding the aircraft safely onto the freeway. The plane landed and came to a stop on the No. 4 lane before it was eventually moved to the right shoulder.

The aircraft remained on the shoulder and off the freeway lanes as of 2:20 p.m.

The pilot, who was the aircraft's only occupant, was unhurt, an FAA official told ABC 10News. The official said the plane was a single-engine Piper PA24.

The CHP said the pilot credited his experience and luck for safely landing the plane.