Couple In Fiery Santa Ana Freeway Plane Wreck Released From Hospital

SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) – A husband and wife who were critically injured while aboard a small plane that crashed on the 405 Freeway near John Wayne Airport have been released from a Santa Ana hospital and are expected to make full recoveries, a hospital official said.

Francis Pisano, 62, and Janan Pisano, 55, both of Cota de Caza, were taken to OC Global Medical Center in critical condition with spinal fractures and cuts following the crash, which occurred about 9:35 a.m. on June 30.

The couple were released Wednesday and were “on a path to full recovery,” according to the hospital’s Jeff Corless, who did not provide additional details.

“From all of us at Orange County Global Medical Center, we send them off with all our care and support as they continue to recuperate,” Corless said.

Janan Pisano released a statement through the hospital expressing the couple’s hope to return soon to normal activities, Corless said.

“Frank and I are pleased to share we have been discharged from Orange County Global Medical Center and are on the road to a full recovery,” Janan Pisano said. “We are both receiving rigorous physical therapy treatment to regain our strength and return to normal activities in the near future. Frank and I know that we are alive today because of the incredible and heroic acts of civilians and first responders who immediately rushed to our aid on the 405 freeway.”

“We received swift and thorough care from local police officers, the Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Global Medical Center. We are so incredibly touched by the outpouring of love and support from our son, Ronnie, daughter Joanna, family, friends, and the entire community.”

State records show Francis Pisano is the owner of the Cessna that experienced engine problems shortly after takeoff, prompting him to try to return to the airport.

Pisano radioed that he had lost one of his engines just after takeoff and then made a frantic mayday call to air traffic controllers seconds before the plane came down on the freeway north of the MacArthur Boulevard exit.

“We got a mayday! We got a mayday! … I can’t make it back to the airport,” he could be heard saying.

Pisano attempted to fly the aircraft to the airport westbound over the freeway, but it lost altitude and its tail clipped a center divider wall, according to the CHP.

The Cessna continued westbound before colliding with off-duty Avalon firefighter John Meffert’s 2005 Mitsubishi. In the southbound lanes, the plane also collided with a 2008 Toyota with Uber driver Blackstone Hamilton, 51, behind the wheel.

Ji-Yong Dong, 23, of Ontario, crashed a 2006 Toyota into the plane’s debris in the southbound lanes, as did northbound motorist John Triplett, 69, of Folsom, who was driving a 2008 Toyota.

No one was injured other than the Pisanos.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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