When a small commuter plane crashed on the 405 in Orange County, California Friday morning, most of the witnesses drove right past. As the video below shows, many simply would not get involved. But there’s a brighter side to the video, too. Several bystanders did stop, and together they pulled a couple from the flaming wreckage.
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The twin-engine Cessna 310 crashed on Interstate 405 near John Wayne Airport during Friday morning traffic. Orange County Fire Capt Larry Kurtz later issued a statement saying the couple sustained traumatic injuries, but were being treated.
The crash itself wasn’t fatal, but the aftermath would have been as both of the plane’s occupants were unable to escape the flames. Then the bystanders risked their own lives to pull them out.
The Daily Mail reports that Mirza Baig was driving on the freeway when the plane crashed. He stopped and crossed the highway to video the rescue. Three men were checking cars to make sure no one on the 405 had been injured. Two others pulled the pilot from the burning plane. A woman passenger had already been removed, and a man removed his shirt to use as a compress for her bleeding head.
After they determined there were no other passengers, the rescuers turned toward treating the two from the plane. The video captures their attempts to assess and treat the injuries. The pilot, who was having trouble breathing, received the most attention.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot radioed an emergency. Air traffic control released the audio of the pilot’s panic. “We have a mayday! We have a mayday,” he yelled. “I’m trying to get a little altitude. I just lost my right engine!”
But as the image above shows, he wasn’t able to get enough altitude to make it back to the airport. The freeway was the safest place for him to set the plane down.
“The fact that a plane was able to land and only strike a single vehicle is extraordinary,” Capt. Kurtz said. At 9:30 am on a Friday, the 405 is crowded.
The video captures the bravery of the people who chose to step up and face the flames. There is some strong language on the recording. There’s also a lot of heroism on display, too.