SNJ-5 airplane crashes before rush hour

Ventura County Star

Published 9:46 PM EDT Oct 23, 2018

CAMARILLO, Calif., A World War II-era plane crash landed on a Southern California highway Tuesday afternoon but the pilot was able to walk away, authorities said. 

SNJ-5 airplane crashes before rush hour

The Los Angeles County Fire Department was notified at 1:48 p.m. PDT about the plane along the northbound lanes of Highway 101 near the Liberty Canyon Road exit in Agoura Hills. 

Crews arrived to find the plane on fire, billowing smoke. The fire was put out by 2:14 p.m., fire officials said. The pilot was removed uninjured, they said. 

The crash landing clogged traffic in the region during busy commuter hours.

Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration, said the agency had been notified of the crash and that the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were going to investigate. Aside from the plane's model and the substantial damage it sustained, little was known so far about the incident.  

More: Pilots killed in South Carolina airport plane crash

"A North American SNJ-5 airplane crashed on Highway 101 near the Liberty Canyon Exit under unknown circumstances," Kenitzer said in an email to The Star. 

The pilot was the only person on board the aircraft and there were no reports of property damage or injuries on the ground, Kenitzer said. 

Diana Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the Van Nuys Airport, confirmed the plane was part of the Condor Squadron, a nonprofit vintage flying club based out of the Van Nuys Airport. She did not know where the plane was headed or whether the plane flew from Van Nuys or not.

The squadron performs mock dogfights for air shows and flies in formation over parades, memorial services and events commemorating veterans, said President Chris Rushing. He said the plane that crashed was a North American AT-6.

SNJ-5 airplane crashes before rush hour

The plane was flown by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, but the same model was known as an SNJ when used by the Navy.

"The pilot did a great job getting it down and not hitting any cars," Rushing said.

The pilot, whose name was not immediately released and flies professionally for Alaska Airlines, was out on a training exercise, Rushing said. He didn't know what caused the crash.

The plane was painted with World War II-era German air force markings, Rushing said.

Both sides of the freeway were shut down near the scene after the crash, and it was expected to be that way for some time, California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Baldonado said. Authorities are advising commuters to stay away from the area and take alternate routes, he said

Contributing: The Associated Press

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