Los Angeles, CA – The injured pilot of an airplane that crash-landed onto railroad tracks was pulled from the wreckage by police just a moment before an oncoming train obliterated the remnants of the aircraft, bodycam footage showed (video below).
The incident occurred on a set of railroad tracks adjacent to Whiteman Airport in the Pacoima neighborhood shortly after 2 p.m. on Sunday, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) said in a press release.
A single-engine Cessna 172 experienced engine failure shortly after taking off from the airport and crashed down just moments later, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPS) Captain Christopher Zine told the Associated Press.
The crash occurred near the LAPD’s Foothill Division stationhouse, and officers arrived at the scene to help the pilot almost immediately.
LAPD Sergeant Joseph Cavestany said he requested that Metrolink stop all train activity due to the plane crash, the Associated Press reported.
“But apparently, that didn’t happen,” he said.
While Officer Christopher Aboyte was standing next to the plane working to keep the still-seated pilot alert and conscious, the train crossing lights and bells activated, the Associated Press reported.
“We looked and sure enough, there was a train headed right for us at full speed,” Officer Robert Sherock said.
Bodycam footage showed the officers as they frantically worked to free the bloodied pilot from the wreckage of the plane.
“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!” one of the officers yelled as they dragged the pilot out of the cockpit to safety.
Police were still pulling the injured man away from the tracks as the train barreled into the wrecked plane, sending debris flying in every direction, the video showed.
Cell phone footage recorded by a bystander showed huge pieces of the plane nearly hitting people and vehicles while crashing back to the ground.
Firefighters contained a minor fuel spill after the collision, according to the LAFD.
The pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft.
He was transported to a hospital for treatment.
Los Angeles County Public Works later said the pilot suffered “minor injuries” and is expected to recover, according to KTLA.
The officers who heroically rescued him credited both adrenaline and their training for their quick actions, the Associated Press reported.
“When things like that happen, you kind of just go and do it,” Officer Damien Castro said. “You don’t really have much time to think.”
Officer Sherock said he believes the pilot should try his luck at the lottery, the Associated Press reported.
“I think this guy needs to buy a lottery ticket ‘cause he pretty much cheated death twice within 10 minutes,” he said.
The National Transportation and Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are handling the ongoing investigation into the crash, according to the Associated Press.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: