HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami/CBS4) — Several lanes of the Florida Turnpike turned into a tarmac Wednesday afternoon when a single engine Socata plane crash landed on the northbound lanes on the Florida Turnpike near Hollywood Boulevard which caused a traffic nightmare for travelers that became stuck on the turnpike.
“At some point, there was a mechanical problem with the plane,” said FHP Sgt. Mark Wysocky. “The plane was forced to attempt a landing on the northbound lanes of the Turnpike.”
Video from Chopper 4 showed the front end of the plane cracked in half where its nose collided with the median wall which separates the north and southbound lanes.
While there was no fire, firefighters doused the plane with foam as a precaution. First responders also used sand and dirt to quickly sop up leaking fuel.
The pilot has been identified as Alain Jaubert , 49, from Julos, France and his passenger Donato Pinto, 50, of Aventura. They were both transported to Memorial Regional Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
Carlos Parodi was driving north on the Turnpike when he saw the plane start to turn. Parodi is a former pilot and knew the pilot of the single-engine Socata was in trouble.
“When I saw him about two blocks away, I stopped cause I knew he was gonna crash,” Parodi told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “Then he crashed and he started skidding sideways.”
Parodi jumped from his car, looked for flames then pulled the pilot to safety. He was worried about a fire and saw that the passenger seemed to be stuck.
“He said he couldn’t get out because his back was hurting a lot,” Parodi explained. “I said listen, I don’t care. You’re gonna get out. I told the pilot, help me. And I grabbed him and pulled him out.”
According to FAA spokesperson Kathleen Bergen, the plane was returning to North Perry Airport from Opa Locka Airport when it landed on the Turnpike.
The plane is registered to SV Leasing Company of Florida, which is based in Miami. The plane seated seven people.
SV Leasing said the plane is usually kept at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport, but wasn’t there because the plane was having work done to it.
Luckily, no one on the ground was injured even though the plane hit the always busy Turnpike.
“It was a tremendous effort on the pilots’ part to bring it down and not get anybody hurt. Kudos to him,” said Hollywood Fire/Rescue Chief Virgil Fernandez.
- Click here for a gallery of the plane crash and the traffic nightmare it caused.
The emergency landing caused a traffic tie-up on the Turnpike for approximately 5 hours.
Carlos Parodi prays that the men recover and was proud to do what he could to assist in a potentially dangerous situation.
“Two guys trapped inside a plane, you gotta do it,” Parodi said. “I couldn’t walk away from it.”