A small twin-engine Cessna 310 plane carrying a pilot and one passenger crashed on the 405 Freeway in orange county at around 9:30 a.m. local time Friday morning. The plane was experiencing technical problems, and the pilot had said on the radio that he had lost his right engine.

The pilot was attempting to return to John Wayne Airport, where the plane had taken off shortly before. As the plane crash-landed on the freeway, it burst into flames, but both people on board were rescued. According to authorities, a man and a woman were transported to local hospitals following the crash.

Plane crash on freeway could have been far worse

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said the crash could have been far worse, as that freeway is notoriously busy and often jammed with traffic. Kurtz said the fact the plane had crash landed on the freeway and only struck one vehicle was “extraordinary.”

The two passengers were described as a man and woman, both in their 50s or 60s. Kurtz said they were the only people injured in the incident. According to Kurtz, the foam was used to douse the burning wreckage, due to the volatile nature of the plane’s fuel. The pair was saved by an off-duty fire captain, Captain John Meffert, who was headed off on vacation with his family. According to NBC News, Meffert is with the Avalon Fire Department on Catalina Island, where he has worked for 17 years.

Fire authority captain saves two people from the plane crash

According to a report by ABC News, Meffert saw the Cessna plane flying low just before the crash and said the biggest thing for him was to approach the aircraft. He said initially he could see no movement, so at first stayed back, not wishing to become a victim himself.

However, the wife’s head suddenly popped up, and Meffert figured that if she can be alive in there, he can figure out a way to get to the passengers.

While the Cessna was engulfed in flames, he found there were fewer flames on the passenger side of the plane, where he helped the woman pull a man out of the wreckage. At that stage, Meffert says he wasn’t thinking of his safety.

In the meanwhile other drivers had stopped on the freeway to help, using fire extinguishers from their vehicles to battle the blaze.

Vehicles were struck by the plane but with no injuries sustained

Meffert told reporters that the wing of the plane scraped his car’s hood as it crash-landed. According to a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, three other vehicles were struck by the Cessna – or pieces of the plane – on the southbound side of the freeway, with one vehicle hit by the plane’s landing gear on the northbound site. The aircraft, which is registered to Twin Props, had reportedly flown from Santa Ana to Palm Springs Thursday afternoon.

John Wayne Airport is reportedly an international hub popularly used by Southwest Airlines.

Hollywood actor Harrison Ford had a close call at the same airport with an American Airlines Boeing 737 earlier in the year. The Orange County Register reports that the airport is known as one of the “scariest” in the U.S. due to its short runways, leading to sharper landings and take offs.