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Pilot rescued from wreckage in LA moments before train hits

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The pilot of a small plane averted death twice in a span of minutes on Sunday, first when he crash-landed onto railroad tracks, then when Los Angeles police rescued him just before a commuter train smashed into the aircraft.

Bodycam video showed the officers working furiously to disentangle the bloodied pilot from the cockpit of the crumpled Cessna 172.

“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!” someone yelled as the officers dragged the man away seconds before the Metrolink train, its horn blaring, barreled through the plane.

The single-engine plane had engine failure during take-off from Whiteman Airport in the San Fernando Valley community of Pacoima and went down moments later, Police Captain Christopher Zine told reporters. The plane ended up on a rail crossing in an intersection adjacent to the airport and just blocks from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Foothill Division station.

Officers arrived at the crash scene almost immediately.

“I had requested Metrolink to cease all train activity, but apparently that didn’t happen,” Sgt Joseph Cavestany told CBSN Los Angeles.

Officer Christopher Aboyte told KABC-TV that he initially stood by the plane trying to keep the pilot, who was seated, conscious and alert.

Then, bells and flashing lights signalled an oncoming train, Officer Robert Sherock told the station.

“We looked and sure enough there was a train headed right for us at full speed,” he said.

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