NEW YORK (AP) — 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 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.