A small plane that crash landed on a San Diego freeway Saturday, killing one and injuring five, previously landed safely on the same freeway 16 years ago.
The single-engine, two-seat Lancair IV crashed into a car on Interstate 15 North near State Route 76 at approximately 9:15 a.m. Saturday morning, about 50 miles north of San Diego.
The driver, Aaron Meccann, had pulled over to sync his Bluetooth when the plane crash landed in the fourth lane of the freeway, sliding 250 feet and hitting the back of the Nissan, California Highway Patrol (CHP) authorities said.
See photos from the scene of the crash here.
Saturday's crash was not the first time the Lancair IV was spotted on the I-15.
Matt Nokes, a San Diego resident and former MLB player, told NBC 7 San Diego he believes he was the original owner of that plane, based on the identical tail number of the plane and the model.
He said at one point, he was flying near Rancho Bernardo when he had to make an emergency landing on the I-15 during the plane's second flight in February 2000.
"I just looked around, and it was all rolling hills," he told NBC News.
He told NBC 7 he saw a break in traffic and deployed landing gear, safely landing between cars.
After the landing, Noke said he had some machinery replaced and flew it regularly for four more years before he sold it in 2004. A fuel flow problem led to the crash, he said, but he never did learn what caused the problem.
Antoinette Frances Isbelle, 38, a passenger sitting in the back of the car, was crushed to death on impact, CHP officials said. Meccann, 43, the driver, suffered lacerations above his eye. A 45-year-old woman and 36-year-old man, both passengers in the car, were also injured and taken to the hospital, officials said.
The pilot, identified as Dennis Hogge, of Jamul, suffered life-threatening injuries and severe head trauma. His passenger, a woman in her 50s, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Noke told NBC 7 San Diego he knows Hogge and called his an excellent pilot and master plane builder.
"Something must have gone horribly wrong," Noke told NBC News.
Authorities on scene told NBC 7 San Diego that a 38-year-old woman, identified as Antoinette Frances Isbelle, was sitting in the back passenger seat and was crushed to death at impact. Meccann, 43, who had pulled over to sync his Bluetooth, was taken to Palomar Hospital with lacerations above his eye; a 45-year-old female sitting in the front left passenger seat was taken to Sharp Linda Vista; a 36-year-old man sitting in the back passenger seat was taken to Sharp Linda Vista Hospital.
Hogge, 60, suffered severe head trauma, CHP officials said; his injuries are considered life-threatening. He was taken to Palomar Hospital. The passenger in the plane, a woman in her 50s, suffered non life-threatening injuries and was taken to Palomar Hospital.
CHP officials said there was no evidence landing gear was deployed in Saturday's crash; it appeared the plane had mechanical issues.
"I can't get into the pilot's mind, what he saw at a particular time; I don't know how he was, I don't know what his airspeed was, so I really don't know what his options were at the time," Howard Plagens, a NTSB investigator, said.
Noke said the plane was a high-performance machine built much like a BMV, constructed by a master builder over four years.
NTSB officials said it is unclear if there was a black box on the plane. Investigators may be able to use radar data to look at the pilot's flight profile, they said.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the cause of the crash. Investigators performed an initial inspection of aircraft and engine Saturday, but will do a more thorough inspection at their facility in Arizona. A preliminary report is expected in five to seven days.