Two people escaped without injury after the small plane they were traveling in from El Monte crash-landed on the 5 Freeway in Carlsbad Thursday, officials said.
Around 7:10 p.m., several people reported a single-engine Cessna had landed on the freeway's southbound lanes, just south of the Tamarack Avenue off-ramp, said Mike Lopez, a division chief with the Carlsbad Fire Department.
The first firefighters on scene stated that the aircraft nosedived into the center divider but suffered minor damage, Lopez said.
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The two people aboard, a male and female, suffered no injuries, the fire chief said. No vehicles were stuck.
The pair had departed the San Gabriel Valley Airport en route to McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, according to Lopez.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane around 7:05 p.m., Lopez said.
The pilot reported engine trouble and the cockpit filled with smoke, Carlsbad city officials told KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego.
The aircraft is registered to Viola LLC in Covina, Federal Aviation Administration records show. Its flight status was valid through 2022.
The landing forced the southbound lanes to close for 30 minutes, but by 8 p.m. two lanes had reopened.