Plane lands on I-8

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WEBplane.jpg
Photo by Ana Nita. A plane stages an emergency landing on the I-8 on Oct. 19 after losing power. No one was hurt.

“This is f—ing gnarly,” exclaimed Zach Decker, 25, while driving his vehicle on I-8 West on Friday, Oct. 19 before noon and watching live as an airplane from the Gillespile Field Airport landed in front of his car on the freeway.

His wife, Keri, 26, started recording right away and the video posted on Facebook reached almost a million views.

The couple lives in Boulevard, Calif. and Keri Decker said they were taking their son, Mason, to the dentist when this “once in a lifetime” event happened.

“This is f—ing gnarly,” exclaimed Zach Decker, 25, while driving his vehicle on I-8 West on Friday, Oct. 19 before noon and watching live as an airplane from the Gillespile Field Airport landed in front of his car on the freeway.

His wife, Keri, 26, started recording right away and the video posted on Facebook reached almost a million views.

The couple lives in Boulevard, Calif. and Keri Decker said they were taking their son, Mason, to the dentist when this “once in a lifetime” event happened.

“We were just driving and saw the plane go over us and told my son to look, and then my husband was like, oh, it’s making an emergency landing,” said Decker.

Decker said she was shocked and thought, “Holy cow, this is crazy,” but that she was not afraid because she trusted her husband’s decisions behind the wheel. “The pilot was like, he had everything under control and all the cars were moving out of the way.”

She said, the plane avoided the power lines, the near by homes and cars and “executed that emergency landing perfectly.”

Zach Decker cheered the pilot, “Good job!” while driving by the aircraft safely to a stop on the freeway.

According to Travis Garrow, Public Information Officer with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the single engine aircraft landed around 11:20 a.m. on the freeway I-8 westbound near El Cajon.

“We had a 36 years old male pilot who was flying the four-seat fixed-wing single engine aircraft and a 25-year-old male flight instructor,” said Garrow.

Their statements taken after the incident indicated, “They experienced a loss of power on their descent to Gillespie Field” and the instructor took over the plane “and was able to make and emergency landing.” Garrow said the instructor “diverted the aircraft to I-8 westbound near the Second Street where he was able to land the aircraft in the number 1 and number 2 lanes of the freeway.”

The landing did not cause any accidents.

“No other vehicles were struck, nothing was damaged, no injuries were sustained,” said Garrow.

In order to remove the airplane from the road, the Mollison Ave off-ramp was closed to traffic while the wings of the plane were being dismantled for easier transportation.

The traffic was backed up until late afternoon, when an unrelated car accident happened a couple of hundred feet away from where the plane was pulled off the road.

Reached for comments, the Gillespie Field Airport directed all questions to Jessica Northrup, Communication Officer with the Land Use and Environment Group within the San Diego County. Northrup said, “We do not have any information.”

The California Highway Patrol were the responders on this incident, said Northrup.

“We are merely out there assisting with traffic control at this point until they could dismantle the plane and take it out the road safely,” said Garrow.

The CHP released a statement later in the day stating, “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were dispatched at the scene and they are the ones handling the investigation.”

Representatives from FAA inspecting the plane on location said the governmental agency would release a statement after the investigation is complete.

Allen Kenitzer with the FAA Office of Communications confirmed there were two people on board and there were no injuries related to this incident.

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