The daring rescue of a pilot who went down in the crash of a small, single-engine airplane in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacoima was captured on police body camera footage Sunday afternoon.
Police body-camera video captured the heart-pounding moments as officers pulled a man from the wreckage of a downed plane Sunday just seconds before it was struck by a passenger train.
The plane crashed on or near train tracks in Pacoima next to the Whiteman Airport around 2:09 p.m. PT, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.
Several LAPD officers can be seen in bodycam footage pulling the pilot out of the downed plane and then back away from the tracks — just seconds before an oncoming train crashes through the wreckage.
“Training and experience kicked in,” said LAPD Officer Damien Castro. “The adrenaline helped. When things like that happen, you just go and do it. You don’t really have time to think.”
Castro and Officer Robert Sherock responded to the crash scene within minutes after the single-engine plane, taking off from Whiteman Airport, went down. As they were helping the pilot, they heard the ominous sounds of an oncoming train.
“By the time we got him out… four to five seconds passed as the train basically disintegrated the plane right on the tracks and kept going right through,” said Sherock.
First responders from the LAFD medically evaluated the pilot, whose age and gender were not released, then transported them to a hospital. The nature and severity of any injuries they may have sustained are not yet known.
“I think this guy needs to buy a lottery ticket because he pretty much cheated death twice within 10 minutes,” Sherock said.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was a single-engine Cessna 172. They confirmed the pilot was the only person on board and that no one on the ground was injured.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, the FAA said in a statement. Future updates on the crash will be handled by the NTSB.
No fire was caused by the plane's crash, and a minor fuel spill has been contained by firefighters.
The damaged airplane was still in the area of the Metrolink Antelope Valley line train tracks as of 2:30 p.m., according to the LAFD. Train movement in the area was been restricted.