Couple in plane that crashed on 405 Freeway identified

California Highway Patrol officials have identified the couple aboard a small plane that crashed on the 405 Freeway near John Wayne Airport.

Francis Pisano, 62, and Jana Pisano, 55, both of Cota de Caza, were taken to Orange County Global Medical Center in critical condition with spinal fractures and cuts following the crash, according to a copy of the CHP’s collision report.

Both are in stable condition and expected to recover, according to KABC-TV. No other injuries were reported.

The small twin-engine airplane burst into flames as it crash-landed on the 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa on Friday morning, shortly after taking off from John Wayne Airport.

In a frantic call to the airport’s tower, the pilot of a Cessna 310 told controllers he had lost power in his right engine and was trying to land as the aircraft swooped low over buildings and the freeway.

“Hey, we got a mayday! We got a mayday!” the pilot said, according to a recording obtained at, a website that streams and archives air traffic control audio.

The tower told the pilot he was cleared to land but then told him, “Your gear appears to be up.”

Pisano replied that he was “still trying to get a little altitude.”

“I lost my right engine,” he said.

Barely a minute later, the aircraft slammed into the freeway.

The couple was pulled from the burning aircraft by John Meffert, an off-duty firefighter from Avalon.

In a statement released Monday, the couple’s children, Ronnie and Joanna Pisano, said they were “truly touched and encouraged by all the thoughts and prayers from our family, friends and the entire community.”

“We would like to thank the off-duty first responders and nurses who stopped to rescue our parents, including John Meffert,” they said.

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