Plane lands on California interstate, killing woman in car

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A car parked on an interstate shoulder while the driver used a cell phone was rear-ended by a small plane making an emergency landing, killing a woman in the vehicle, California authorities said Saturday.

The driver was complying with California laws regarding hands-free phone operation while operating a vehicle, North County Fire Protection District spokesperson John Buchanan told CNN.

“The Nissan just happened to be there,” he said. “They had pulled over to sync a phone with the Bluetooth system in the car.”

The single-engine Lancair IV was attempting a “belly landing” using the underside of the plane without the use of landing gear, when it struck the Nissan Sentra about 9 a.m. on Interstate 15 in San Diego County, an FAA spokesman said.

The impact forced the bumper and trunk of the sedan into the backseat, where two people sat. One of them, a 38-year-old woman whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Five people were injured, including the pilot, who had life-threatening injuries, Buchanan said. A passenger in the aircraft was among those hurt.

Three people were taken to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido. Chris Saunders, the hospital public relations manager, said two of those people were admitted, with one taken to surgery. The third person was treated and released.

Two other injured people were taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa but there was no information on their condition.

By Ralph Ellis and Keith Allen

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