Everyone who flies wonders how they would handle a situation if the plane they were in suddenly needed to do an emergency landing. While most would pray their pilot was as gifted as Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III from the 2009 “miracle on the Hudson” flight having a decent runner up pilot like the miracle on the highway flight in Costa Mesa, California. The flight was supposed to go from San Diego to Van Nuys but plans rapidly changed when the pilot realized he was facing engine failure.
The pilot of a Beech G33 plane had to make an emergency landing Sunday night after its engine cut out about two miles off the coast of California. The pilot Izzy Slod thought he would either make an emergency landing at John Wayne airport or the beach, but the winds were not cooperating.
With time very short and a serious life-threatening situation transpiring onboard, Slod chose to look for other options. It was then that he spotted an unusual moment. He spotted an opening on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa. He realized his only choice was to make an attempted landing on the highway. He was concerned whether or not the plane could make it over an overpass on the highway and because of the winds he calculated it would be best to fly under it.
By grace and skill, Slod and his passenger Daniel Gross made it to safety as the plane landed on a quiet spot on the highway. The local Fire Capt. Chris Coatez from the Costa Mesa Fire Department said it was a “miracle” the traffic was so light on the highway at that time. The plane landed at approximately 7:40 p.m. on the northbound lanes of the highway in the area just south of Del Mar Avenue exit 4 in an area where traffic is not usually slow at that time.
Amazingly, the landing caused no collisions, no injuries and no damage to property or vehicles. Once the call came in, first responders arrived on the scene and closed down the three lanes of the highway so they could assess the accident, remove the plane and reopen the highway. The agency Slod works with described him as an experienced pilot.