LOS ANGELES, Calif., Jan. 10, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Los Angeles Police officers are being called heroes after risking their lives Sunday in the frenzied rescue of a downed pilot mere moments before his plane’s wreckage was pulverized by a speeding commuter train.
The harrowing incident, caught on police body camera, captures the chaos as cops from LAPD’s Foothill Division ignored their own safety, pulling the pilot from the shattered cockpit about six seconds before a Metrolink train roars through the crossing, horns blaring, and blasts the small aircraft to bits.
Cellphone video recorded by a witness shows wreckage from a Cessna 172 showering bystanders and motorists with debris. While there were no reports of injuries on the train or on the ground, the bloodied pilot was taken to a hospital in unknown condition. His identity was not revealed.
According to a statement by the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot crashed shortly after takeoff from nearby Whitman Airport in Pacoima, a suburb in the San Fernando Valley about 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
The officers who responded were stationed less than a block from the crash site.
Their actions were praised online and across social media.
“Foothill Division Officers displayed heroism and quick action by saving the life of a pilot who made an emergency landing on the railroad tracks at San Fernando Rd. and Osborne St., just before an oncoming train collided with the aircraft,” an official LAPD tweet said.
Foothill Division Officers displayed heroism and quick action by saving the life of a pilot who made an emergency landing on the railroad tracks at San Fernando Rd. and Osborne St., just before an oncoming train collided with the aircraft. pic.twitter.com/DDxtGGIIMo
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) January 10, 2022
The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the cause of the crash.
Gephardt Daily will update the story as more information becomes available.