The plane dropped out of the sky in 2000 and landed on I-15 north of Rancho Bernardo, California. Cars along the freeway saw it in distress and slowed for its landing. No injuries occurred. Sixteen years later, April 2, 2016, the same plane—built from a kit—landed on I-15 a mile north of SR76 in Fallbrook, California.
This time the plane landed in the slow lane, skidded 250 feet and rammed into a Nissan Sentra. The Sentra driver had pulled onto the shoulder to align his Bluetooth with his car. Several in the car carrying roller derby women were injured. One, who took the brunt of the hit, died.
The same plane. A different pilot. Sixteen years apart. A fuel problem in 2000 caused the emergency. No details exist yet what caused the April 2, 2016 emergency. But it was one emergency too many for the unfortunate victim.
What if’s proliferate. What if…the Sentra driver hadn’t pulled to the shoulder? Or the pilot had been able to slow his speed on landing? Or landed on a nearby model airplane runway? Or the car would have been 30 seconds earlier or later arriving on the shoulder? Or….
The classic tragedy of being in the wrong place at the wrong instant! The unanswerable dilemma more than one has experienced.
But the questions have only begun for the aircraft owner. Which will take him a long time and a lot of money to answer and resolve.