SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) — The dashboard camera in a Bay Area couple’s car on Saturday night captured the startling sight of a small plane making an emergency landing on a freeway in San Leandro.
The single-engine Cessna 172 made an emergency landing on westbound lanes of Highway 580 at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday night after the pilot reported a rough-running engine, said Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration Pacific Division spokesman said in an email.
A family driving on the freeway caught the frightening incident on video with the dash camera of their car.
You can hear the shock and panic in Eric and Brandi Geer’s voices in the video as they watch the single-engine 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 6:45pm.
Neither the pilot nor his passenger were hurt. Amazingly, even with heavy Saturday night traffic, the plane didn’t hit any cars.
The plane was not damaged, nor were any vehicles on the freeway hit by the plane.
Emergency vehicles responded to the scene. CHP shut down two westbound lanes as they investigated the incident and waited to remove the plane.
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.
As of about 10 p.m., the plane had been loaded on the back of a flatbed truck and was going to be taken to the Hayward Airport where it was supposed to land before the pilot experienced issues.
The plane’s registered owner is Fly Fe LLC, based in Reno, the FAA said.
KPIX 5 asked the pilot for an interview at the scene, but he declined to speak on camera.
The cause of the emergency landing is under investigation.