Plane makes emergency landing on New York highway
Single-engine aircraft landed after maintenance workers stopped traffic to leave road clear
Rescue workers are seen around a small plane that landed on a highway in the Bronx in New York yesterday. Three people were reportedly injured in the incident. Photograph: EPA
A single-engine plane has made an emergency landing on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx afternoon.
No one was seriously injured. The plane, which had flown from Danbury, Connecticut on a tour of the Statue of Liberty, landed in the northbound lane yesterday afternoon, officials said.
The pilot and his two female passengers were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital with minor injuries.
The plane hit some treetops before it landed, officials and witnesses said, spilling some fuel before touching down and rolling about 100 meters.
The pilot was able to land on the usually heavily trafficked expressway because a crew of city workers repairing potholes had closed two northbound lanes, said workers at the scene.
After seeing the plane in the air, the crew stopped traffic and closed the third northbound lane.
No cars were damaged during the landing, officials said, but there were major delays into the evening as officials investigated.
Officials said that a hazardous materials team removed 50 gallons of fuel from the plane before it was towed, and that the road crew spread sand to absorb hydraulic fuel leaked from the plane’s landing gear.
Chief Philip Banks III of the Police Department said officials were conducting an investigaton.
“Anytime you have an airplane crash and you survive, it’s pretty lucky,” he said, adding that the Transportation Department workers had done a “fantastic job” in assisting the pilot and his passengers.
Bert Troche (58) a highway repair worker for the city’s Department of Transportation, said crews were patching holes on the expressway that were caused by the snow on Friday.
Mr Troche said the crew was using two large trucks to protect themselves from the approaching traffic while working.
“We took out the right and center lane, so the traffic was running slow, and then that gave him enough time to come down,” he said, adding: “his motor went dead and he had to find a place to land.”
Miguel Lopez, a supervisor for the repair crew, said the workers helped the passengers into his truck to wait for emergency officials.
“I told them to get in the truck so they could stay warm and collect their thoughts,” Mr Lopez said. Based on preliminary reports, firefighters thought they were responding to a downed jet, said Capt. Robert Keating of Ladder 52 in the Bronx.
“He didn’t seem rattled,” Mr Keating said of the pilot, and exited the plane “like he was just getting out of a taxi.”
A Bronx-based company called Autorama Enterprises removed the plane from the road. “It was the first time I’ve seen the removal of a plane,” said Phil Blumenthal, the company’s general manager, who was at the scene.
“We don’t expect air planes to fall out of the sky.”
New York Times