Los Angeles – The latest airplane crash underscores the ongoing danger that Whiteman Airport poses to the Pacoima community. Pacoima Beautiful, the leading San Fernando Valley environmental justice organization, urges the County of Los Angeles to shutdown Whiteman Airport to address ongoing safety concerns voiced by the community.
On Sunday, January 9, next to Whiteman Airport in Pacoima, a single engine airplane crash landed on the train tracks at the intersection of Osborne Street and San Fernando Road shortly after takeoff. LAPD Foothill Division officers were first to respond, extricating the injured pilot seconds before the Metrolink slammed into the downed airplane, sending jagged metal debris towards bystanders.
The accident left several residents fearful of an airplane crashing on their home. Pacoima Beautiful, Executive Director, Veronica Padilla says, “We cannot remain silent and idle while Pacoima residents live in fear of airplanes crashing on them.” Padilla continues, “No one should live under that kind of duress. It’s not okay to be gambling with human life both the pilots and Pacoima residents. Enough is enough.”
Unfortunately, accidents are commonplace at Whiteman Airport. In November 2020, on the corner of Sutter Avenue and Pierce Street, a civil air patrol single engine airplane crashed and burst into flame on the front yard nearly burning the resident. The pilot was killed in the fire. Whiteman Airport has over a decade of complaints, “LA Times reporting in 2008 numerous safety concerns at Whiteman Airport, many coming from its proximity to nearby residential, commercial and industrial businesses, as well as San Fernando Road. As recently as 2018, a Cessna crashed killing one and critically wounding a 12-year-old child. “(LA Times).
Since 2007, Pacoima Beautiful has called for the closure of Whiteman Airport when it issued a report stating “Whiteman Airport is the largest identified toxic source emitter in Pacoima. It emits pollutants almost 20 times higher for carcinogenicity, 70 times higher for chronic non-cancer, and almost 80 times higher for acute non-cancer than the next highest source emitter in the area. It is estimated that as much as 1,000 lbs. per year of various air toxins, may be emitted because of ongoing operations at the airport facility.” It’s time to shutdown Whiteman Airport.
Associated Program: Shutdown Whiteman Airport