A pilot and a passenger are lucky to be alive and unharmed after their plane experienced engine failure mid-flight, forcing them to make a fiery crash landing on a California freeway.

The crash occurred on Tuesday at around 12:30 p.m. on the eastbound lane of California State Route 91 near Corona in Riverside County, according to California Highway Patrol.


Pilot Andrew Cho’s single-engine Piper PA-32 experienced engine failure before he was set to land at Corona Municipal Airport, leaving him with little choice but to attempt an emergency landing on a nearby highway, according to California Highway Patrol via KTLA.

As the plane landed, it left a trail of fuel and fumes on the highway before Cho’s aircraft swerved into a sound barrier, coming to a complete halt. The aircraft also hit a truck carrying three people during the landing.

Thankfully, the pilot and passenger were able to escape without injury. The occupants of the truck were uninjured too.

Video footage from the Corona Fire Department shows firefighters arriving and dousing the burning plane with water.

Cho explained to KTLA the breathtaking moments before and during the landing.

“It felt like a hard bump, hard to describe,” Cho said. “We were 4 to 5 feet in the air when the plane stalled completely and fell to the ground.

“Your training kicks in, and you do the right thing,” he added. “As long as you don’t panic, you get the best outcome.”

Another photo from the Corona Fire Department burned ruins of the plane that “broke apart” after the landing.

“(We’re) very fortunate today that the traffic was light, and the pilot appears to have made some good landing navigation that avoided what could have been a very bad tragedy,” CHP Capt. Levi Miller told KTLA.

The crash caused significant traffic delays going eastbound on route 91 as the California Highway Patrol initially blocked off all lanes before opening up a few.

The Federal Aviation Administration is currently investigating the crash, the Los Angeles Times reported.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.