The Socata aircraft landed about 6:15 p.m. at the intersection of Santa Fe Road and Melrose Drive in San Marcos, according to Lt. Ryan Wisniewski with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
The four-seat plane had two people on board when it took off from Montgomery Airfield headed to Fullerton, authorities said. The pilot lost power and contacted Palomar Airport to try to make an emergency landing there, but didn’t make it to the runway.
“The pilot was not able to maintain altitude long enough to get to Palomar so he did an amazing job, frankly, on being able to land here on Rancho Santa Fe,” San Marcos Fire Department Battalion Chief David Pender said.
The two passengers inside the plane and the passengers inside the vehicle were able to be safely evacuated, and there were only minor injuries as a result of this incident.
The plane just nearly missed nearby homes and buildings.
“Police were speeding by us. There’s so many ways it could have ended way worse. This is a very busy road, the fact that only one car was hit is amazing,” said Dan Selstad, an onlooker who drove near the crash right after it happened. “Swimming pool with all the kids is about 50 yards away, right there. Just nuts, unbelievable. I was blown away that we could see the pilot walking around.”
The FAA, NTSB, and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department will conduct investigations into the crash. Authorities said they do not suspect any drugs or alcohol were involved.
Last week, authorities said an intoxicated pilot landed a small aircraft on Interstate 70 southeast of Kansas City, Missouri, after radioing that he had run out of fuel.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol tweeted that the plane had a “minor collision” with a guardrail but otherwise didn’t hit anything. The pilot was the only person on board and suffered minor injuries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.