published Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Small plane makes emergency landing on New York City highway

NEW YORK — A small plane made an emergency landing Saturday on an interstate highway in New York City, startling drivers but touching down safely with no serious injuries to anyone aboard, 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. All were taken to a hospital, but police and fire officials said neither the male pilot nor two female passengers appeared to have been badly hurt.

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.

It wasn't immediately clear why the plane set down. It didn't strike any cars on the road, police said.

The highway was closed and emergency personnel were on the scene.

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

Patricia Sapol, 29, of West Point, was driving south on the highway with her husband when they saw emergency vehicles surrounding the downed plane, 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."

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