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Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing on I-5 Near Del Mar

A light plane lands on the southbound I-5 near Via de la Valle in Del Mar, Aug. 24, 2021.
ABC 10News
A light plane lands on the southbound I-5 near Via de la Valle in Del Mar, Aug. 24, 2021.

UPDATE: 5:35 p.m., Aug. 24, 2021

A disabled light plane landed Tuesday on Interstate 5 near the Del Mar Fairgrounds, striking several vehicles on the freeway, injuring two people and forcing a closure of a stretch of the heavily traveled freeway for more than four hours.

The pilot of the single-engine Piper PA-32 brought it down on the southbound side of the freeway south of Via de la Valle in the North City area shortly after noon, according to the California Highway Patrol and Federal Aviation Administration.


RELATED: Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing On I-5 In Oceanside

The aircraft "clipped" several vehicles before rolling to a stop against a center-divider wall, said Jose Ysea, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Two occupants of the damaged cars were taken to a hospital for treatment of apparently minor injuries, including superficial cuts from shattered glass.

The pilot and a person who had been riding in the Piper walked away from the crash, apparently unhurt, Ysea said.

Video images from the scene showed that one of the vehicles struck by the plane, a white sedan, sustained a shattered rear window in the impact. Another, an SUV, was left with a torn-off piece of the aircraft protruding from its back end. The crash-landing left most of the right wing of the airplane sheared off.

All southbound lanes of the freeway in the area and part of the northbound side remained blocked off into the mid-afternoon. As of shortly before 4:30 p.m., the damaged airplane had been hauled off, and the interstate was fully reopened in the area, the CHP reported.


It was unclear exactly what type of mechanical problem forced the pilot, who had taken off from Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa, to make the emergency landing just east of Del Mar city limits.

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