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Small Plane Makes Emergency Landing On Major Deegan Expressway

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Plane On Major Deegan Expressway

A small plane made an emergency landing on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (Credit: Daniel Miller)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A small plane made an emergency landing Saturday afternoon on the Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx.

The plane was on the ground on the northbound side of the expressway near the junction with the Moshulu Parkway, authorities confirmed to CBS 2. The emergency landing happened sometime after 3 p.m.

The plane had departed from Danbury, Conn., and had flown to the city for a tour of the Statue of Liberty, according to the Office of Emergency Management. The plane was returning to Danbury when the pilot executed a controlled emergency landing.

Department of Transportation workers were working on the expressway when they noticed the plane coming. Crews blocked traffic and gave the plane room to land, 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported.

“The plane hit the ground. It came straight down and hit the tree tops and we helped escort the passengers off,” DOT crew member Miguel Lopez said.

A statement released by the DOT on Saturday evening, praised the workers’ actions.

“A potentially more devastating situation could have arose if it wasn’t for the quick thinking and efforts of this DOT roadway crew,” the statement said.

The aircraft was being piloted by Michael Schwartz, 50, of South Salem, according to fire officials. Schwartz had two female passengers in the plane with him at the time.

Officials told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez that the three were lucky to survive the landing.

“I see skid marks on the highway approximately 100 yards. It basically landed, the wheels collapsed underneath it and it skidded to a halt,” Assistant Deputy Fire Chief James Daly said, “Luckily there was only one minor injury.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Piper PA28 aircraft sustained minor damage. No cars were impacted, and no one on the ground was injured.

The FDNY Emergency Medical Services division said there were three people aboard the plane. The three patients were taken from the scene to St. Barnabas Hospital with what were reported to be minor injuries. By 11 p.m. Saturday, all but one of the passengers had been released from the hospital.

No fire broke out, the FDNY said. There was a small fuel leak on the highway, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

But traffic in the area was severely backed up. The northbound side of the Major Deegan had been closed between 233rd Street and the Mosholu Parkway, but was reopened shortly after 6 p.m. when the plane was cleared from the roadway, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

The FDNY said that the plane was forced to land due to engine complications, 1010 WINS reported.

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