Los Angeles police on Sunday saved in extremis the pilot of a small plane that crashed onto railroad tracks seconds before a train ran over the wreckage at full speed.
A small plane crashed onto the train tracks and was then run over by the train
The single-engine Cessna 172 small plane went down shortly after 2 p.m. (West Coast time) near Whiteman Airport in the San Fernando Valley northeast of Los Angeles, putting its injured pilot in a serious predicament: a double-decker commuter train was speeding in its direction, authorities said.
Several officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Foothill Division, which is based a half-block from the scene, blocked the roadway with their SUVs.
At the same time, an officer stood on the tracks in the direction of the approaching train in an apparent attempt to warn the engineer of the situation, according to body camera footage released by the LAPD.
But the taxpayer-funded Metrolink train, which claims to be the nation’s third-largest commuter rail system in terms of miles traveled, kept speeding forward and even sounded its horn.
Then, two agents pulled the pilot of the plane to his feet, while two others tried to help them and warn them that the train was near.
“Go, go, go!” one of them shouted.
Approximately 6 seconds elapsed between the time the policemen managed to pull the pilot out of his seat and the time the train hit the wreckage of the plane.
“When I arrived, the pilot was still inside the plane and bleeding from the head. He was still awake and was talking,” Christopher Aboyte, a police spokesman, told Telemundo News.
The pilot, whose identity has not been released, was taken to a trauma center for treatment of unspecified injuries.
The area was shut down and the craft was scattered in a thousand pieces. The Metrolink line, which runs to the Antelope Valley, was suspended.