Motorists horrified as 'Nazi plane' suffers engine failure, crash lands on freeway and bursts into flames

The pilot of a vintage single-engine aircraft escaped death after the plane crashed and burst into flames on a southern California freeway on Tuesday

                            Motorists horrified as 'Nazi plane' suffers engine failure, crash lands on freeway and bursts into flames

A vintage aircraft with markings of Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe crash-landed on lanes of the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, California, on Tuesday and burst into flames. The pilot miraculously walked away unscathed.

But despite the Luftwaffe’s black-and-white cross marks, the plane was not a WWII aircraft from Germany but rather a North American AT-6/SNJ trainer airplane with the pilot aboard as the sole occupant. The plane belonged to Condor Squadron, a nonprofit organization founded by WWII pilots in 1965 which flies WWII-themed planes over parades, celebrations, memorials and in mock dogfights, the Huffington Post reports.


According to the LA County Fire Department, the small aircraft crashed near the center lanes of the northbound 101 Freeway near Liberty Canyon Road around 1:15 p.m. “I picked a spot on the freeway where I knew there was a big section of cars that weren’t there,” pilot Rob Sandberg told KABC. “The engine completely failed. I was able to, fortunately, not hurt anybody other than the airplane.”

As fire crews worked to extinguish the blaze with the plane's wing still aflame, commuters were amazed to see the spectacle and recorded the footage on their cellphones as they passed by.

According to a spokesperson, the plane, whose back end appeared to be missing as it continued to burn, took off from Van Nuys Airport, NBC reports.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Chris Rushing, president of Conor Squadron, said the plane had suffered “a catastrophic failure”.

“Thank God he’s OK and no one got hurt on the ground,” Rushing said. 

That said, traffic on the northbound side was backed up for miles after all lanes were to be closed for an unknown duration as crews worked to clear the wreckage. Both the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board have launched an investigation into the accident.

Quite a few social media users cracked jokes about the metaphorical significance of the incident, mentioning theories akin to possible wormholes and "a glitch in the Matrix".