Officers pulled an injured pilot from a crashed plane moments before a train slammed into wreckage – CNN
Officers pulled an injured pilot
from a crashed plane moments
before a train slammed into wreckage
(CNN)A commuter train speeding toward them, the police officers rush to the wrecked airplane on the tracks — its bloodied pilot still inside.
“Go, go, go!” an officer yells as they drag the apparently disoriented pilot to safety.
Four seconds later, the Metrolink train’s horn blasts as it rips through the empty plane, body camera video of the rescue Friday afternoon in a Los Angeles neighborhood shows.
Three officers involved in the rescue told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Monday what happened at the scene. “It wasn’t until I heard one of my coworkers behind me say, ‘The train is coming and we need to get him out now,'” said Officer Christopher Aboyte.
“At that point, I never actually turned to see the train, just focused on getting the pilot out and getting away from that aircraft since there was a lot of aircraft fuel on the ground,” Aboyte said.
“It happened so fast, we didn’t really have that much time to think,” said Officer Damian Castro. “All I could think was try to get this man to safety, didn’t really want to look back to see how far the train was coming, you could hear it coming,” he said.
“It’s pretty surreal,” said Sgt. Joseph Cavestany, after looking at all of the videos of the rescue.
Aboyte did not have an update on the pilot’s condition but said the man had complained of a headache at the scene. “I’m hopeful that’s all he had, he did have some lacerations on his face but I do not know the extent of those injuries but he was conscious and talking to me and he knew very well where he was and what had happened,” he said.
“It was a close call, I’m just grateful we all made it all out OK,” said Castro. “It was just unbelievable,” he added.
“This incident just happened to be caught on multiple cameras but we, the officers, do our best to do this type of thing every day where we remain professional and handle our business,” said Cavestany.
The pilot had been the only person on the private, single-engine Cessna 172 when it crashed, said Rick Breitenfeldt, spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration.
“We have no reports of injuries to anyone on the ground,” he told CNN.
The pilot was taken to a regional trauma center, according to a news release from the Los Angeles Fire Department, whose Foothill Division responded in the Pacoima neighborhood. The extent of the pilot’s injuries was not disclosed.
CNN has reached out to Metrolink for updates on the condition of the train crew and passengers.
The pilot had taken off from nearby Whiteman Airport before crashing, Breitenfeldt said. The plane “lost power (and) crashed onto tracks” near Whiteman Airport, LAPD’s Operations-Valley Bureau tweeted.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Breitenfeldt said. “The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide all updates,” he said.