Vintage plane’s fiery crash blocks Los Angeles freeway

Commuters in Los Angeles had quite a surprise when a vintage plane crashed and caught fire on the 101 Freeway Tuesday afternoon.

The pilot had taken off from Van Nuys Airport but lost power around 1:45 p.m. local time, KTLA reported.

"He heard a couple of loud pops in the engine. He was able to control it and was trying to land on the 101 Freeway but there was a car in front of him. So as he landed, touched down, he had to jerk the wheel hard to the left to avoid the vehicle. That's when he crashed into the center divider," California Highway Patrol Capt. Johnny Starling told KTLA.

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The pilot, who has 30 years experience flying, was taken from the wreckage, KTLA reported. He only had singed hair from the fire and was otherwise unhurt.

"I picked a spot on the freeway, where I knew there was a big section of cars that weren't there, but the engine completely failed. Fortunately, I was able to not hurt anybody -- other than the airplane," pilot Robert Sandberg told KABC.

The plane was registered to Condor Squadron, a group that flies restored World War II-era planes. It was a T-6 Texan, a trainer plane, that had been painted in camouflage with black and white crosses on the wings that symbolized a World War II German fighter plane, KTLA reported.

The plane had to be cut into pieces and put on a trailer to remove it from the heavily traveled highway.

The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, KABC reported.

Credit: KABC-TV via AP

Credit: KABC-TV via AP

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