Plane Crash Near John Wayne Airport On 405 Freeway, Major Injuries Reported: BREAKING: A small plane crash near John Wayne Airport Friday morning closed the Southbound 405 freeway. Two were pulled from the wreckage.
By Ashley Ludwig (Patch Staff) -
Updated June 30, 2017 2:36 pm ET
NEWPORT BEACH, CA — A small plane crashed onto the 405 freeway, approximately 1,000 feet from John Wayne Airport runway Friday morning. A full freeway shutdown and a brief closure of the airport to arriving flights followed as emergency vehicles responded to the scene.
As of 11:15 a.m. the 405 Southbound at MacArthur remained closed to traffic due to emergency vehicles, cleanup and investigation into the crash. One lane of traffic allowed stopped vehicles to move through the closure in the HOV lane, according to on-scene video. All drivers headed southbound 405 in that area were advised to seek alternate routes, according to California Highway Patrol.
Two people in the aircraft, a man and a woman said to be in their 50s and 60s, were pulled from the plane and were being treated for major injuries, Orange County Fire Authority Captain Larry Kurtz said.
Audio just prior to the crash was released, and the man piloting the plane could be heard shouting "May Day" and "I can't make it back to the airport" seconds before the crash.
According to FAA spokesperson Ian Greggor, the twin-engine Cessna 310 departed from John Wayne Airport Friday morning.
"The pilot declared an emergency shortly after taking off and was trying to return to the airport when the plane crashed on the southbound 405 Freeway short of Runway 20R," Greggor said. "FAA inspectors were en route to the scene shortly after the crash occurred."
Though all flights in and out of John Wayne Airport have resumed back to normal, officials have braced for a long-term closure of the 405 Southbound.
According to on-scene reports, the Cessna 310 crash landed on the 405 short of the runway at just after 9:30 a.m. Friday morning and subsequently caught fire, sending a smoke plume visible for miles. The condition of the pilot and passenger, pulled from the craft, is unclear at this time.
The plane crash was first reported by eyewitnesses as smoke clouds from the event could be seen for miles, and debris was reported in the area on the 405 southbound.
The small plane initially impacted at the northbound 405 freeway, according to initial statements from the scene where the Cessna 310 aircraft was being doused with foam by Orange County Fire Authority firefighters.
The southbound freeway was at a complete stop as of 11:15 a.m., according to California Highway Patrol.
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There is a SIGAlert just north of MacArthur Boulevard, near John Wayne Airport in the Irvine area, according to California Highway Patrol.
"The freeway has been closed in both directions and it is unclear if anyone was injured in the crash," a CHP spokesperson said. According to officers at the scene, the southbound 55 to the southbound 405 was at a dead stop as of 10:15 a.m.
Live footage from the scene showed hundreds of vehicles stranded on the roadway.
The airport was closed to arrivals for approximately 30 minutes following the crash, John Wayne Airport Public Relations Information Officer Deanna Thompson said over Twitter.
"Departing flights were not affected," Thompson said.
The downed plane is a 1975 Cessna 310R fixed wing multi engine plane that seated six, though only two passengers were reported removed from the aircraft. It is owned by Twin Props Corporation of Santa Ana according to registration.
Time: 09:30 LT
Owner/operator: Twin Props 87297 LLC
C/n / msn: 310R0506
Fatalities: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: near John Wayne-Orange County Airport (KSNA), Santa Ana, CA - United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport: John Wayne-Orange County Airport (KSNA)
The aircraft crashed onto Freeway 405 northwest of John Wayne-Orange County Airport (KSNA), Santa Ana, California. The aircraft was partially consumed by the ensuing fire and the two occupants onboard were injured.