A pilot frantically radioed a distress call just before a small plane crashed on the 405 Freeway near John Wayne Airport in Orange County on Friday morning, dramatic audio shows.
"We got a mayday! We got a mayday!" the panicked pilot said over radio to air traffic control, according to audio obtained by KTLA. "Mayday, mayday!"
The crash occurred on the southbound 405 near MacArthur Boulevard around 9:35 a.m., a short time after the plane left the airport, and the pilot said he would attempt to head back to John Wayne, according to the recording.
"We're still trying to get a little bit of altitude ... I lost my right engine," he said.
A Federal Aviation Administration official indicated in a preliminary statement that the plane -- a twin-engine Cessna 310 -- "crashed under unknown circumstances" short of Runway 20R.
The pilot "declared an emergency shortly after taking off," FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said in a emailed statement.
A man and woman, both in their 60s, were on board the plane when it crashed. They were hospitalized with traumatic injuries, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz.
Their conditions were not immediately known.
“The fact that nobody else was injured was very fortuitous,” Kurtz said.