IRVINE (CBSLA.com) – An off-duty firefighter whose car was struck by a small plane as it crashed onto the 405 Freeway in Irvine Friday morning near John Wayne Airport helped rescue its two occupants, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.
The Avalon Fire Department captain was driving south on the 405 Freeway at 9:35 a.m. near MacArthur Boulevard when his car was clipped by a Cessna 310.
“He was traveling southbound on the 405, was involved in a collision with that airplane,” CHP Officer Paul Fox told CBS2 by phone. “No injuries to him, and he was able to get out and render aid to both the pilot and his passenger.”
The fire captain told Fox that as he rushed to the crashed plane, the female passenger was already outside of it. He came to her aid as she was attempting to pull the male pilot out to safety.
“Right after the collision, the female was already out of the airplane, attempting to remove the male,” Fox said.
“From what I understand, the individual who is on scene actually pulled out the two passengers, according to initial reports,” Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said at a Friday afternoon news conference. “I will have to confirm that however. He is a firefighter who works for the city of Avalon Fire. We don’t have a rank as of yet, whether he’s a firefighter, chief, captain.”
Meanwhile, a truck belonging to an Uber driver who was taking a passenger to John Wayne Airport was also hit by the plane while on the freeway.
“I was struck by this Cessna, rear-ended my truck, spun around, had a passenger in there, saw flames all around us,” the Uber driver said.
The driver said he initially thought he had been struck by a semi-truck.
“Thought at first it was just a big rig that had hit us. Essentially, just tried to regain control of my vehicle. Checked my passenger made sure he was OK. Gave each other a hug that we were still alive.”
No one on the ground was seriously hurt in the crash. The pilot and his passenger, a man and a woman said to be in their 50s and 60s, were taken to Orange County Global Medical Center with major injuries.
“Both of them were conscious, both of them did have good vital signs when we were transporting them to the hospital,” Kurtz told CBS2.