By Miriam Raftery
Photo by Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson
October 19, 2018 (El Cajon) – After losing engine power aboard a small plane, a flight instructor took over controls from a student pilot and made an emergency landing on westbound Interstate 8 in El Cajon. The flawless landing avoided damage to the aircraft, vehicles on the freeway or property; no one was injured.
The pilot, 25, and student pilot, 36, both of San Diego, were inbound to Gillespie Field in El Cajon when the emergency occurred, said Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway patrol.
Two lanes were blocked briefly until the aircraft was pushed to the shoulder, blocking the Mollison Avenue off-ramp which remains closed while the plane’s wings are disassembled for removal from the Interstate.
Photo right via Mike Allen
ECM reporter Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson was driving in the vicinity and got tied up in traffic following the crash. She posted the image above on her Facebook page with this message: “Harder than you think to compete with a airplane for a lane on the freeway. Traffic in Southern California today. Sigh. Driver's Ed didn't include this in a chapter.”
Coincidentally, a second ECM reporter, Mike Allen, also drove past after the plane landed and got this photo (right).
Wildlife biologist Renee Owens was also on scene. "Is it an indication that you are going too slow or too fast when an airplane lands next to you on the freeway?" she asked on her Facebook page.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been dispatched to the scene and are handling the investigation.
Alcohol and or drugs are not considered factors in the incident, according to Officer Garrow.