SAN DIEGO (AP) — When his single-engine plane ran out of gas, 48-year-old Ken Gheysar did the first thing that popped into his head: He landed on the Southern California freeway.
Luckily it was almost midnight on a Sunday and traffic was light on the southbound lanes of Interstate 15 in Escondido, north of San Diego. He safely landed the 1968 Piper, touching the single-engine plane down on the right hand shoulder of the thoroughfare. No cars were hit and Gheysar and his three family members exited the craft unharmed.
"Basically it was just a quick reaction," Gheysar told The Associated Press. "The fuel ran out and there was not much time, and there was not much else to do. Can I call you back? I've got some important calls I need to take about moving my plane."
California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Bettencourt said there were only about two vehicles on the highway at the time. But one of the motorists later swerved into the plane's wing, damaging it and the pickup.
"Wouldn't you know it, the one lone car out there on the highway just happened to clip his wing," Bettencourt said. "It caused enough damage that we couldn't just get him gas and fly him out of there."
Authorities moved the craft over to an off-ramp to relieve morning traffic, while Gheysar was talking to his insurance company about having it towed, Bettencourt said.
It was not immediately known why Gheysar ran out of gas. The pilot from Orange, Calif., has been flying for more than two decades, Bettencourt said.
He was heading to Palomar Airport in Carlsbad.