Four Los Angeles police officers have been hailed as heroes after pulling a man from a crashed plane, just seconds before it was hit by a speeding commuter train.
Dramatic video has emerged from the scene in Paoima on Sunday afternoon (local time), shortly after a single-engine Cessna crashed onto train tracks.
It shows the officers from the LAPD’s Foothill Division struggling to help free a bloodied man in his 70s from the cockpit. They tug at the wreckage and make room for him to get free.
“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!” someone yelled as the officers dragged the man away.
Seconds later, a Metrolink train slams into the downed plane, smashing it into pieces.
“Foothill Division Officers displayed heroism and quick action by saving the life of a pilot who made an emergency landing on the railroad tracks at San Fernando Road and Osborne Street, just before an oncoming train collided with the aircraft,” the Los Angeles Police Department said.
The station has identified the heroic officers as Damien Castro, Christopher Aboyte, Robert Sherock and Sergeant Joseph Cavestany.
It is not clear when authorities realised the plane was on the tracks, or when the train company was notified of the danger.
“I had requested Metrolink to cease all train activity, but apparently that didn’t happen,” Sergeant Cavestany said.
The Los Angeles Fire Department said the man was taken to a regional trauma centre. No information has been provided on his condition.
“Seeing what happened, I’m grateful to be alive. I’m grateful the pilot survived as well,” Officer Sherock said.
The crash site is near the Whiteman Airport in the San Fernando Valley, from where the plane had recently taken off, local media reports.
Police say the plane lost power before going down, and the pilot was the only one on board.