Los Angeles police remove California pilot from plane moments before train crash

LOS ANGELES – A pilot who crashed a small plane on a railroad track was pulled alive from the wreckage by a group of Los Angeles police officers moments before a commuter train roared, authorities said .

Video of the heartbreaking rescue shows officers pulling the bloodied man to safety seconds before the honking commuter train shatters the Cessna 172 to pieces.

The plane crashed around 2:10 p.m. Sunday, shortly after taking off from Whiteman Airport in the community of Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Police officer’s body cam time stamp shows train crashing into plane at 2:15 p.m.

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The plane had landed on the rails of a crossing a few blocks from the LAPD’s Foothills Division station, and officers were at the scene almost immediately.

CBSN Los Angeles said four officers managed to extricate the pilot and drag him to the sidewalk. The station identified them as Damien Castro, Christopher Aboyte, Robert Sherock and Sgt. Joseph Cavestany.

It is not known how much time passed before authorities realized the plane was on the tracks, or exactly when police informed the railroad, but officers realized there was no time to waste.

“I had asked Metrolink to cease all rail activity, but apparently that did not happen,” Cavestany said.

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The pilot, the only person on board, was transported in an unknown condition, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. No other injuries were reported.

“Seeing what happened, I’m grateful to be alive. I’m also grateful that the pilot survived,” said Sherock.

Metrolink subsequently cut train service and traffic was diverted in the area approximately 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

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