A car parked on an interstate highway shoulder while the driver used a cell phone was rear-ended by a small plane making an emergency landing, killing a woman in the vehicle, California authorities said Saturday.
The driver was complying with California laws regarding hands-free phone operation while operating a vehicle, North County Fire Protection District spokesperson John Buchanan told CNN.
“The Nissan just happened to be there,” he said. “They had pulled over to sync a phone with the Bluetooth system in the car.”
Authorities have not said why the crash occurred. A large number of people witnessed it, Buchanan told CNN affiliate KGTV, with many saying they heard a sputtering engine before the plane went down.
The single-engine Lancair IV was attempting a “belly landing” using the underside of the plane without the use of landing gear, when it struck the Nissan Sentra about 9 a.m. on Interstate 15 in San Diego County, an FAA spokesman said.
The plane skidded on the freeway for about 150 feet before hitting the rear of the car, KGTV said.
The impact forced the bumper and trunk of the sedan into the backseat, where two people sat. One of them was pronounced dead at the scene, KGTV reported.
Five people were injured, including the pilot, who had life-threatening injuries, KGTV said. A passenger in the aircraft was among those hurt.
Three people were taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. Chris Saunders, the hospital public relations manager, said two of those people were admitted, with one taken to surgery. The third person was treated and released.
Two other injured people were taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa but there was no information on their condition.