A group of LAPD officers saved a pilot whose plane crashed on railroad tracks by pulling him to safety just moments before a commuter train smashed through.
The pilot crashed his small Cessna 172 on nearby railroad tracks soon after takeoff from Whiteman Airport in the San Fernando Valley, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The crash site happened to be a few blocks from the LAPD Foothills Division station.
Police body camera footage released by the LAPD showed four officers removing the bloodied and injured pilot just seconds before a commuter train blew its way through the wreckage of the plane, all while pedestrians watched from the sidelines.
According to the station, Officers Damien Castro, Christopher Aboyte, Robert Sherock and Sergeant Joseph Cavestany were involved in the rescue. The officers managed to pull the pilot to safety while calling Metrolink to halt all trains in the vicinity.
“I had requested Metrolink to cease all train activity, but apparently that didn’t happen,” Cavestany said.
Officer Damien Castro said his training came in handy.
“Training and experience kicked in. The adrenaline helped. When things like that happen, you just go and do it. You don’t really have time to think,” Castro said.
Officer Sherock also shared his perspective on the harrowing experience.
“By the time we got him out… four to five seconds passed as the train basically disintegrated the plane right on the tracks and kept going right through… I think this guy needs to buy a lottery ticket because he pretty much cheated death twice within 10 minutes,” Sherock said.
“Seeing what happened, I’m grateful to be alive. I’m grateful the pilot survived as well,” Sherock continued.
The 70-year-old pilot is lucky to be alive. Mark Jenkins was transported to the hospital with serious but stable injuries, including broken ribs and damage to the face.
The pilot’s step-son-in-law believes Jenkins landed on the tracks to save lives on the ground.
He and Jenkins bought the single-engine Cessna twenty years ago and have routinely maintained it.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board said they will investigate the crash, ABC News said.