EL MONTE (CBSLA) — A pilot forced to make an emergency landing in the Rio Hondo Wash, near El Monte Airport, had to be airlifted to safety.

Pilot Jesse Ramos looked to be uninjured Thursday evening and in good spirits, flashing a thumbs up, from the wing of the plane he landed safely – in the water of the Rio Hondo Wash.

“I think that I got lucky,” Ramos said. “I ended up in a good spot where nobody got hurt and that’s mostly what I wanted.”

Ramos says he’s been flying for 10 years and doesn’t know what went wrong with the single-engine Beechcraft BE-35 – but one of the gas tanks was empty when he tried to restart it. The engine quit just two miles shy of the El Monte Airport.

The plane landed safely, but in about a foot of water with a current of about half a mile an hour. So a Los Angeles County sheriff’s rescue crew hoisted him from the wing of his plane, to dry ground.

Crews were working late Thursday night to determine how to retrieve the plane from the wash.

The FAA is investigating.

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