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Hero Pilot Speaks Out, Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing On 55 Freeway

COSTA MESA  (CBSLA)   -- A small plane made an emergency landing on the 55 Freeway in Costa Mesa Sunday evening.

The pilot -- a 25-year-old named Izzy Slod -- and his passenger were able to walk away without injury.

Slod and his passenger talked to KCAL9's Tom Wait about the miraculous landing -- he hit nothing and even went under a highway overpass while taxiing.

Officials first reported that there had been a casualty on the ground but that turned out to be erroneous.

The emergency landing occurred around 7:40 p.m.. according to Desmond Shaw in Sky9.

John Wayne Airport said the plane lost an engine over the ocean and was able to make it over Newport Beach before having to ditch on the road.

Several lanes of the northbound 55 were shut while officials investigated the circumstances of the landing.

Slod, who said he's had about seven years of flying time, wasn't even sure how he did it.

He was taking off from San Diego and lost power about a mile out, over the ocean. Strong Santa Ana winds he said made it hard to get back to an airport in Orange County.

Witnesses told Wait it was miraculous that the plane touched down the way it did, was able to go through an underpass and not clip any vehicles.

"It boils down to just simply turning," Slod said, "that's what it is."

Wait asked him how he was able to keep a clear and calm head.

Izzy Slod, hero pilot
(credit: CBS)

"You don't have a choice," he said, "You have maybe a minute, or two minutes to figure something out and make decisions. And I went with my gut on the freeway. I didn't know there was a freeway there and I didn't know if I could make it. But it paid off this time. "

Wait said it was a miracle he didn't hit anything.

"A lot of luck," he said, matter-of-fact, "And I'm not a big believer, but definitely a miracle."

Slod's passenger, Daniel Gross, was equally nonplussed.

"I fly frequently. And you're trained when you lose power to look for open areas.  And we tried to make it to the airport but we had pretty strong winds blowing us away from the airport right now."







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