With dramatic timing seen frequently in the movies but rarely with an actual life on the line, rescuers pulled a pilot from the wreckage of his plane’s crash landing just seconds before a train smashed into it in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Captured on bystander video and the body cameras of responding officers, the last-second rescue almost surely saved the life of the pilot, who was the only person on the small plane and was brought to a hospital. The Los Angeles Police Department said the man was saved by Foothill Division officers who “displayed heroism and quick action.”
The pilot, who was not identified, was “medically evaluated,” the Los Angeles Fire Department said, without describing his condition.
The body camera video, which includes images of the pilot’s bloodied face, shows at least three officers pulling the man from the mangled plane, dragging him as far away as possible as one of them shouted, “Go! Go! Go! Go!”
Three to four seconds after he was freed from the plane, the train tore through at a high speed, blasting its horn as the crash created a deafening, shrieking roar.
The small, single-engine plane landed on tracks near Whiteman Airport at about 2:10 p.m. on Sunday, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. The plane descended after losing power, the police said, describing it as an emergency landing.
A video posted by a bystander, Luis Jimenez, offered another perspective on how unlikely the pilot would have been to survive if he hadn’t been removed from the plane. Taken from a distance, the video shows the small plane shattering into pieces, with debris flying far away from the point of contact and nearly hitting Mr. Jimenez as he filmed.