• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 28s

Small plane makes emergency landing on NYC highway

By CBS News/Associated Press 9:08 PM January 4, 2014

"I thought I'd seen everything in my life"

NEW YORK - A small plane traveling to Connecticut after taking a tour of the Statue of Liberty made an emergency landing Saturday on a New York City interstate highway, startling drivers but touching down safely with no serious injuries to anyone aboard or on the ground, officials said.

The aircraft, a Piper PA-28, set down at around 3:20 p.m. on the northbound side of the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, in an area where the highway passes through Van Cortlandt Park.

The Federal Aviation Administration said three people were on board. Police and fire officials said neither the male pilot nor two female passengers appeared to have been badly hurt. All were taken to a Bronx hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio told reporters the plane had departed from Danbury Municipal Airport and was making the return trip when it experienced engine problems.

“We have…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 said.

The FAA said damage to the aircraft was minor. Photos taken by bystanders showed the blue and white plane largely intact but resting on its belly by the snowy edge of the road. The plane’s landing gear appeared in the photos to have collapsed.

A maintenance crew of city Department of Transportation workers fixing potholes on the northbound side of the highway noticed the plane in distress heading toward them and stopped traffic, clearing space for the plane to land, a DOT spokesman said.

“The plane hit the ground, it came straight down and hit the treetops, and we helped escort the passengers off,” DOT crew member Miguel Lopez told CBS New York.

It wasn’t immediately clear what kind of engine problems the plane experienced. A spokeswoman for the FAA said it was investigating but said the National Transportation Safety Board would take over the investigation if it was determined the aircraft sustained a significant amount of damage.

There were no fires or gas leaks and emergency workers removed the plane’s fuel to secure the scene, de Blasio said.

The highway was closed and emergency personnel were on the scene until about 6 p.m., when the plane was taken away on a flatbed truck to a local aviation facility, the FAA said.

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

Patricia Sapol, 29, of West Point, 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. “The fact that there was no actual crash we thought was pretty surprising.”

Latest Stories

  • News

    Mall at Sears Carrs to close

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 01, 20:11

    The Carrs in the midtown Mall at Sears will close this month, a spokesperson says. The last day of operations will be Sept. 12, according to spokesperson Tairsa Worman. The grocery store is closing because it is underperforming, she says. Worman says she does not know what, if anything, will move into the space. An email […]

  • News

    1st day of school in brand new building for Anchorage’s Rilke Schule students

    by Liz Raines on Sep 01, 19:58

    Tuesday, Sept. 1, was the first day of school for students at Rilke Schule German School of Arts and Sciences – and also their first classes in the school’s brand new building. The German immersion school’s founders say they’ve grown to have a student body of nearly 500 students and simply didn’t have enough space. Last year, […]

  • News

    Anchorage mayor announces rollout of energy-efficient LED streetlights

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 01, 18:49

    At Monday’s Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER), Mayor Ethan Berkowitz announced his plans to install LED lighting along the municipality’s streets in an effort to make Anchorage more energy efficient. Berkowitz has already tasked the muni’s Municipal Maintenance and Operations Department with compiling an inventory of Anchorage’s lighting […]

  • News

    Lone entry in Alaska State Fair pumpkin weigh-off destroyed in mishap

    by Shannon Ballard on Sep 01, 16:38

    Alaska is home to some freakishly huge vegetables, and farmers have tended to them for months in hopes of winning big at this year’s Alaska State Fair. Dale Marshall’s goal was to grow the state’s largest pumpkin. At last year’s weigh-off he was just four pounds short of the 1,287-pound record. “The pumpkin has to […]

  • News

    Obama in Seward: Exit Glacier confirms climate change concern

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 01, 14:49

    Day 2 of President Barack Obama’s trip to Alaska began with a breakfast stop in Anchorage at Snow City Cafe. The president then boarded Marine One and he and the air convoy headed to Seward. Touching down close to 11:30 a.m., Obama was greeted by Jean Bardarson, mayor of the City of Seward, and Bert Frost, regional […]

  • DayBreak

    Travel Tuesday: Labor Day weekend getaways

    by Daybreak Staff on Sep 01, 12:06

    The unofficial end to summer is right around the corner. Still, Alaskans won’t hesitate to take advantage of the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Family fun expert Erin Kirkland joined Daybreak Tuesday with her Top 5 list of destinations and activities for the long weekend ahead: Camping and hiking in Denali National Park and Preserve “Hurricane Turn” […]

  • Lifestyle

    UPDATE: ConocoPhillips says Alaska will be affected by expected job cuts

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 01, 11:35

    Energy company ConocoPhillips has confirmed that it is making more cuts to its 18,100-member global workforce — and Alaska will again be affected by those cuts. The company confirmed Tuesday afternoon that it expects approximately 10 percent of its global workforce to be impacted through those reductions. ConocoPhillips says the biggest proportion of the cuts will […]

  • News

    President Obama grabs breakfast to-go at Anchorage’s Snow City Cafe

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 01, 11:23

    Diners at Anchorage’s well-known Snow City Cafe were greeted to a special surprise Tuesday morning: a visit from President Barack Obama. A crowd gathered outside the restaurant, eager to catch a glimpse of the President as he stopped in to grab a to-go order before his scheduled visit to Exit Glacier in Seward. And what […]