Thursday 25 December 2014

Pilot lands plane on NY highway

Published 05/01/2014 | 03:07

The light aircraft landed on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx borough of New York City (AP)
The light aircraft landed on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx borough of New York City (AP)

A pilot made an emergency landing on a New York City highway in front of shocked drivers after the plane developed engine trouble while on a Statue of Liberty tour.

He and his two women passengers are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a Bronx hospital.

Emergency workers took the Piper PA-28 off the northbound lanes of the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx on a flatbed truck.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio said the plane was heading back to Danbury Municipal Airport in Connecticut after touring the Statue of Liberty when the drama happened. It landed on the highway at about 3.20pm local time.

"We have ... an extraordinary situation and actually a bit of a miracle, thank God, that happened today in our city," he said, calling the successful highway landing, without any serious injuries or deaths "amazing".

"I thought I'd seen everything in my life," he added.

The Federal Aviation Administration said damage to the aircraft was minor. Photos taken by bystanders showed blue and white plane largely intact, but resting on its belly by the snowy edge of the road. The plane's landing gear appeared to have collapsed.

Workers fixing potholes on the northbound side of the highway saw the plane in distress heading towards them and stopped the traffic, clearing space for the plane to land.

The Department of Transportation crew helped the plane's occupants out of the aircraft and inside a heated truck until emergency workers arrived.

FAA records indicated the plane was registered to an owner in South Salem.

Patricia Sapol, 29, was driving south on the highway with her husband when they saw emergency vehicles surrounding the downed plane near exit 13, about 15 minutes after the landing.

"We couldn't believe it! We thought, 'Oh my god that's a plane!' It was pretty incredible," she said.

:: A single-engine plane went down off the Southern California coast near Catalina Island, but both people aboard survived and were rescued by a passing boat before the aircraft sank.

US Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers said the plane crashed about six miles north east of Catalina. Coastguard and lifeguard boats and helicopters were quickly sent to the scene, but the Starship Express ferry was in the area and reached the pair first and pulled them aboard.

AP

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