After Plane Crash, Cops Rescue Pilot Seconds Before Train Hit

Watch as police pull pilot from small aircraft from tracks right before train smashes into it
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2022 9:05 AM CST

(Newser) – One very lucky pilot in California is alive after surviving not one, but two back-to-back crashes over the weekend. Per the LAPD's Valley Bureau, a small plane lost power and crashed onto the railroad tracks in the Pacoima neighborhood of Los Angeles on Sunday, with ABC7 noting the accident took place just blocks away from an LAPD station near Whiteman Airport. But the pilot's ordeal wasn't yet over: A Metrolink train was barreling down the tracks toward the downed plane, and police officers who rushed to the scene had little time to act.

On its Facebook feed, the LAPD has posted bodycam video showing the terrifying seconds of police officers yanking the bloodied pilot out of the aircraft, with someone yelling, "Go, go, go, go, go!" as the pilot is dragged by his shirt away from the tracks, right before the train crashes into the plane. ABC7 has more video of the impact, from a different angle. "Foothill Division Officers displayed heroism and quick action," the LAPD's Facebook post notes.

The Federal Aviation Administration notes the plane was a single-engine Cessna and that the pilot was the only one on board, reports NBC Los Angeles. The agency notes the aircraft had taken off from Whiteman Airport and crashed around 2:10pm, with the bodycam timestamp showing the train crashing into the plane at 2:15pm, per the AP. The officers who helped the pilot have been identified as Damien Castro, Christopher Aboyte, Robert Sherock, and Sgt. Joseph Cavestany.

"I had requested Metrolink to cease all train activity, but apparently that didn't happen," Cavestany notes. Sherock adds: "I'm grateful to be alive. I'm grateful the pilot survived as well." The pilot was taken to an area hospital; it's not clear what the extent of his injuries are. No one else appears to have been hurt. An investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board is ongoing. (Read more plane crash stories.)

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