Bodycam footage shows the bloodied pilot being dragged from his crash-landed Cessna after it was forced into an emergency landing on train tracks on Sunday.
The double-decker commuter train blasts its horn, unable to brake in time, before smashing through the light aircraft sending debris flying in scenes likened to an action movie.
Police were hailed for their bravery and calmness under pressure as several officers risked their lives to free the man from the downed plane, which had crashed shortly after takeoff in the Pacoima neighbourhood.
The officers and pilot were just a few feet away from the tracks when the passing train destroys the plane.
“The plane had a failed takeoff and landed on the train tracks at a popular intersection,” said Luis Jimenez, the 21-year-old music composer who filmed another video of the train smash.
OMG—Train collides with a crashed plane just 2 seconds after @LAPDFoothill police pull the pilot from the wreckage earlier today. The bystander who recorded this was nearly hit by large flying debris. LAPD officer’s body cam further below👇—amazing heroism 🙏 https://t.co/HFbd47q9a0 pic.twitter.com/pJssGZsrPM
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) January 10, 2022
“Just seconds before impact police officers saved the pilot, and a piece of debris almost hit me.”
The pilot was treated for cuts and bruises and is in a stable condition, according to local media. No one on the train was injured, local media reported.
The department applauded its officers, saying in the tweet they had “displayed heroism and quick action by saving the life of a pilot who made an emergency landing on the railroad tracks.”
The video racked up more than a million views on Twitter in just hours.
One Twitter user replied: “As a railroad engineer I can’t be more proud of these officers. Hitting an occupied vehicle or an individual on the tracks stays with you forever. Knowing the occupant was clear of the tracks when the train hit the plane will let the Engineer sleep easier.”
Another said: “Not dying, twice, in the same minute, is a very good day.”