CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) -- A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing on Interstate 5 in the Carlsbad area Thursday, forcing the closure of freeway lanes for several hours.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the incident was reported at around 7:12 p.m. and took place on the southbound side of I-5 near Tamarack Avenue.
10News learned the 58-year-old male pilot of the single-engine Cessna and his 58-year-old female passenger were not injured in the landing. No other injuries or vehicle damage was reported
Sadie Beasley was driving south on I-5 during that time, when the plane flew over her and came down in front of her.
"The plane came down, floated down," Beasley said. "It touched the ground but when it touched the ground, it moved it sideways. The plane went back up a little bit, and then it came back down. But it was too far to the left and it hit the center median."
Beasley parked her car to see if anyone in the plane needed help. That's when the pilot and the passenger came out.
"He looked me in the eyes, and said, 'are you okay?'" Beasley recalled. "I’m like, 'I’m okay.' He was like, 'was there any accidents or vehicles involved?' because he was like, really focused on getting the plane down. And I said, 'everyone is safe.' The look on his face. He just sighed in relief. It was the best. I loved seeing that reaction."
The occupants told responding firefighters that smoke had filled the cockpit and the aircraft began to lose power during the flight.
The CHP said the plane made a nosedive into the center divider and came to rest in the southbound lanes.
The couple were flying from El Monte and destined to land only few miles away at Carlsbad's Palomar Airport, 10News learned.
Freeway lanes were completely reopened at around midnight. The plane was towed to Palomar Airport.
The incident is being investigated by the NTSB.