Small plane crashes on Los Angeles freeway; two injured

LOS ANGELES -- A small plane crashed on the 405 Freeway near John Wayne Airport on Friday morning, sending smoke billowing above Santa Ana and forcing the closure of the freeway in both directions, according to KTLA.

The plane is on the southbound freeway near the MacArthur Boulevard exit.

The Cessna 310 aircraft landed on the freeway short of the runway at 9:35 a.m, the Santa Ana airport tweeted.  The airfield is closed to arrivals, but departures are not affected.

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said the plane had crashed and two people are being hospitalized with traumatic injuries.

Both patients “had vitals” when they were removed from the plane, he said.

In a online recording of air traffic control radio communications,  the pilot can be heard crying “Mayday, Mayday,” explaining that he is trying to get more altitude and had “lost my right engine.”

Video recorded from a vehicle on the freeway showed black smoke billowing from the wreckage, with flames rising in the area of the center divider. Debris was all over the freeway, and bystanders could be seen stopping to help two people, at least one of whom was lying on the freeway pavement.

No other vehicles on the freeway were struck, Kurtz said.

“The fact that nobody else was injured was very fortuitous,” Kurtz said.

A preliminary statement from a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman indicated the twin-engine Cessna 310 “crashed under unknown circumstances” short of Runway 20R as the aircraft was inbound to John Wayne Airport. Two people were on board, the FAA spokesman confirmed.