California

Video shows what pilot saw as plane crash-landed in remote California desert

Video catches pilot’s emergency landing in Southern California desert

San Bernardino County Fire released video from a June 30, 2019, airplane crash landing near Ludlow north of Interstate 40 in the Mojave National Preserve. There were no airfields nearby when the plane stalled.
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San Bernardino County Fire released video from a June 30, 2019, airplane crash landing near Ludlow north of Interstate 40 in the Mojave National Preserve. There were no airfields nearby when the plane stalled.

A small airplane had to make an emergency landing in the remote California desert over the weekend — and video captured the rocky crash from the pilot’s perspective.

The pilot and passenger survived unscathed during the Sunday morning crash in the Mojave National Preserve, San Bernardino County Fire Department officials said. The pilot said the plane’s engine lost oil pressure and stalled on a journey from Needles to Chino, but with no landing strips nearby the pilot said they had to make do with the remote desert floor.

I would consider them very lucky,” said Kyle Hauducoeur, a spokesman for the department, according to the Daily Press in Victorville.

The pair crashed the single-engine Beechcraft Sundowner near Ludlow, north of Interstate 40 and about a four- or five-mile trek from the nearest road, according to the Fire Department. The pilot connected with a Sheriff’s Department helicopter to report that neither person was injured.

A medical helicopter responded to the desert scene, where temperatures were in the triple digits on Sunday, fire officials said. That medical helicopter flew both of them to the Barstow-Daggett airport so they could get home. Fire officials did not identify the pair involved in the crash.

Video of the aborted flight, which was released by the Fire Department and recorded from inside the plane, shows the small aircraft cruising toward the scrubby desert before finally making contact with the ground in a shaky landing.

The camera that was recording the landing drops to the floor during the rocky crash.

“Are you OK?” the man piloting the plane asks once the aircraft is on the ground.

“Yes — thank you, God,” his passenger responds.

Hauducoeur described the crash site as “in a very remote section of the preserve,” the Daily Press reports.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are looking into the cause of the airplane crash, the Chino Champion reports.

Fire officials said the pilot reached out to those federal agencies, as well as to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, to help in the investigation.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.

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