It was an unusual sight on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles on Friday, October 19th when a vintage plane crash-landed on the busy roadway snarling traffic for hours. The incident took place about 30 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles, and was a sight that commuters will not soon forget.
According to media reports the pilot was Rob Sandberg, who flies for Alaska Airlines. Sandberg was flying a vintage North American SNJ-5 (T-6) – a plane commonly used by the U.S. Army and Navy, and the Royal Air Force during World War II. Sandberg had embarked on a practice flight from Van Nuys Airport when the plane’s engine started “running rough”.
Sandberg attempted to fly back to the airport, but the engine trouble only got worse. Sandberg had no choice but to find an open spot and try to land the plane. The 101 Freeway was as good as it would get, and that’s where the plane with its German markings came to rest.
Sandberg survived the crash, but the plane was not so lucky. After bouncing and hitting the median, the plane burst into flames. Amazingly, no vehicles on the freeway were involved in the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the crash.
The pilot and drivers on the 101 Freeway were incredibly lucky. Auto accidents on this roadway are a common occurrence, and often are much less dramatic than a vintage plane bursting into flames. Unfortunately, such accidents often result in injuries or loss of life. Accidents like this plane crash serve as a great reminder to anyone operating a vehicle of any type to be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to risks and dangers.
Accidents occur for numerous reasons and we should never take life, or the risk of the improbable, for granted.