Video Report By Richard Allyn, Reporter - bio | email
SANTEE (CBS 8) - A small plane made an emergency landing on State Route 52 near the Intersection of the 125 in Santee.
It happened just after 6 p.m. Saturday. Engine trouble forced the pilot to land the single-engine piper on the westbound lanes of SR-52 between Cuyamaca Street and SR-125 in Santee.
The pilot, who told News 8 he's been flying for five years, was heading to Oceanside with his passenger, also a seasoned airman, who was completing his required re-certification training.
At that point, the pilot, who did not want to speak on camera, said he knew the single engine plane did not have enough power to maintain altitude and said his only choice was to make an emergency landing on the highway.
Luck and skill also helped the pilot once he touched down onto the freeway. Cruising at about 70 miles an hour underneath freeway signs and overcrosses, without hitting them, until the plane finally came to a stop on the westbound lanes.
Deputies and CHP officers helped the pilot to guide the plane off the freeway and safely onto the side.
At one point, authorities had considered pushing the small aircraft off of the freeway but determined it was too wide to fit on the off-ramp.