Jan 30, 2018
Costa Mesa, CA
Experienced Pilot Conducts An Emergency Airplane Landing On The NB 55 Freeway In Costa Mesa, California
Costa Mesa, CA – Sunday, January 28, 2018 around 7:30 p.m. an experienced 24 year old Pilot whom identified himself as Izzy Slod conducted an emergency landing on the northbound 55 Costa Mesa Freeway.
According to the Pilot and his best friend and passenger Daniel Gross, they were flying in the Beechcraft Bonanza G33 from the San Diego Airport on their way to the Van Nuys’ Airport in Van Nuys, CA and as they were flying about two miles out from the coast the airplane lost power. The pilot attempted to re-start the engine in the air to no avail.
Slod said, “he had to decide what to do right away and he notified the John Wayne Airport traffic control tower in Santa Ana that he was going to be conducting an emergency landing on the freeway.” Before deciding to land on the freeway, the tower had cleared the Bonanza to land at the airport but the strong Santa Ana Winds did not help the airplane reach the airport. The airplane glided and Slod was able to spot an opening in traffic on the 55 freeway and he took that opportunity after carefully assessing the terrain. Slod and Gross stated they went under an overpass and ultimately landing and stopping on the freeway just south of Del Mar Avenue and State Route 73.
“It paid-off this time, landing on a freeway doesn’t pay-off for everybody but it paid-off this time and I’m very happy to be here, I’ve never had an engine failure but you train for it” said, Slod.
California Highway Patrol Officers closed off several traffic lanes to include the number 3, 4 and 5 lanes. Only two lanes remained open to traffic.
Tara Derbin, said to be the Slod’s girlfriend, arrived at the scene via the popular rideshare Lyft. Derbin with a gift in-hand said, “she was concerned for Slod after he called her informing her about the engine failure.” They were supposed to go out and celebrate his birthday before the emergency landing. Derbin said, “she was just happy and thanked God nobody got hurt!”
Thankfully, neither Slod nor Gross were injured due to the emergency landing and the airplane was intact. The Bonanza with a wingspan of about 33 feet could not fit through the single lane off ramp where it stopped at so it was towed to the next on-ramp and went up the on-ramp the wrong way escorted by several CHP units.
Several bystanders and passerby’s in vehicles recorded the scene with cameras and cellphones. Almost all local T.V. stations responded to the scene.
The airplane was eventually towed to the nearby Orange County Fairgrounds where it would be inspected in a more safer environment than on the side of a highway.
No other information was obtained at the scene.
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