Family records harrowing moment small plane lands on Calif. freeway

A look at the small plane that made an emergency landing this weekend in California.

CBS Sacramento

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — Authorities said a single-engine Cessna 172 made an emergency landing Saturday on Highway 580 near San Leandro, CBS Sacramento reports. The aircraft touched down on the freeway about 6:45 p.m. after the pilot reported a rough-running engine, Federal Aviation Administration Pacific Division spokesman Ian Gregor said in an email.

The plane’s registered owner is Reno-based Fly Fe LLC. Gregor couldn’t say where the plane’s trip began, or where it was headed when it made the emergency landing.

There were two people in the plane, CHP Officer James Evan said, and one of them reported a “complaint of pain.”

The plane was not damaged, nor were any vehicles on the freeway hit by the plane.

A family driving on the freeway caught the frightening incident on video with their car’s dash camera.

You can hear the shock and panic in Eric and Brandi Geer’s voices in the video as they watch Cessna land right in front of them on westbound 580 just past the 238 interchange in San Leandro.

The Geers said it looked like the pilot waited for a gap in traffic, then dropped it down near the 164th street exit.

“He was able to hold that plane up until all the cars got out of the way and then he landed it and he immediately went to the side,” said Brandi Geers.

She quickly called 911. CHP said they put out the alert to officers at around 6:45 p.m.

Eric Greer was behind the wheel of the family car during the incident. He said he started trying to slow down the traffic behind him as the plane made its way onto the shoulder of the freeway.

“It was fear at first and then adrenaline kicks in,” said Eric Greer. “So I was trying to like, ‘Hey! Listen up!’ So I was swerving around on the freeway.”

According to sources at the CHP, the plane took off from Lake Tahoe and was supposed to end its flight at the Hayward Executive Airport less than five miles from where the emergency landing happened.

The pilot reported a problem with the fuel pump and decided to make the emergency landing.

“You hear about it on TV, you see it sometimes and you’re like, ‘That would never happen!’ There are things that happen that are beyond your control, and planes do fall out of the sky,” said Brandi Geer.

An investigation is ongoing.

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