Officials investigate train collision with crashed plane in Pacoima; police say they called for runways to be closed – Daily News

Police who rescued a pilot moments before a locomotive struck his plane, which crashed into a series of tracks in Pacoima on Sunday, said they called for rail traffic to stop.

But the engineer at the helm of Metrolink train 266 said he was unaware of the plane wreckage in front of his bullet train. An investigation was underway to determine whether Metrolink controllers had been made aware of police requests to close the lanes.

The pilot of the crashed Cessna 172 has been hospitalized and is expected to recover, officials from the Los Angeles Police Department said. He attempted an emergency landing shortly after taking off from Whiteman Airport and suffered some kind of malfunction.

The plane collided with several border guards and came to rest near the intersection of Osborne Street and San Fernando Road, not far from LAPD’s Foothill station, witnesses said.

The callers reported that the plane crashed at 2:09 p.m. and was partially obstructing the lanes. Police said the officers who responded used their radios to call for all rail traffic to stop. But six minutes later, rescuers frantically dragged the pilot of the damaged plane as a train raced at full speed to the crash site, witnesses said.

Daily News reporters were unable to immediately contact or obtain comment from the engineer aboard the Metrolink 266. But he told videographers at the crash site that he had not been informed of no danger on the trail, said photojournalist Nikolas Lucky of OC Hawk News.

“He said they were going 80 miles per hour back then,” Lucky said.

Metrolink officials were unable to confirm this report and were investigating whether a warning was properly sent to the engineer, said Scott Johnson, spokesperson for the transit agency. . He pointed out that there are many signs present at each level crossing that indicate a number that people can call in case something or someone is blocking a set of tracks.

The hotline leads to a control room where there is a person in direct contact with the engineers of the trains in motion. Trains can be stopped within five minutes of receiving a call, Johnson said.

“There is a proper procedure for stopping rail traffic, and it’s not just a matter of calling it on the radio,” Johnson said.

He then applauded the officers’ efforts to save lives.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

“The exact time, communication and length of time the plane has been on track will be part of the investigation,” an NTSB statement said.

It is standard procedure for police dealing with situations where an object or person is in the way of a train to request a stop of rail traffic by radio, said Officer Mike Lopez, a porter. word of the LAPD. These requests are relayed by staff at a communications center so agents can devote their attention to an emergency at hand.

The plane that crashed on Sunday was not the first to crash near Whiteman Airport. A Cessna 182 that encountered engine problems on approach to the runway on November 12, 2020, overturned power lines and started fires when it fell on a neighborhood. Its pilot and sole occupant was killed.

Monica Rodriguez, Los Angeles City Councilor for the 7th District, said the most recent plane crash is “another example of the threat to public safety that Whiteman Airport continues to pose to my constituents.” , in a statement released Sunday evening. She was a staunch opponent of the establishment and called for its closure.

Comments are closed.