Three Los Angeles-area men walked away unharmed from an emergency landing Wednesday night after their single-engine aircraft lost power and came down in a freshly tilled field north of Camarillo.
"Initially we thought about getting back to Camarillo (Airport), but it was getting risky, so we just picked this field," said George Gonzalez, a passenger in the rented Mooney 201 plane.
Gonzalez and John Casanova of Los Angeles had flown to Oxnard earlier Wednesday with Van Nuys flight instructor Karl Florine. They were on their way back to Van Nuys about 7 p.m. when the engine suddenly cut off, Gonzalez said.
Rather than risk a crash, they made an emergency landing in a field at San Miguel Farms, off Los Angeles Avenue between Mesa School and the Somis Nut House.
Wednesday night, the landing gear lay scattered across the field, torn off when the plane touched down. The plane's left wing and nose were clearly damaged, but the fuselage was largely intact.
For the three men, the biggest problem seemed to be finding a telephone and a way back to Van Nuys. About 8:15 p.m., they piled into a Ventura County Sheriff's Department car to use the phone at the police station.
An official at Flight Works, which owns the rented plane, declined comment on the possible loss from the accident. Federal Aviation Administration officials were expected to begin investigating the emergency landing today, Sheriff's Deputy Marco Paschia said.