PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday afternoon on a golf course in New Jersey.
The Federal Aviation Administration said a Mooney M-20 aircraft landed at the Paramus Golf Course at around 12:15 p.m. The plane, which was headed to Poughkeepsie, New York, reportedly had engine trouble.
“(It was an) unusual place to land, but it could have been a lot worse. It could have been a highway or something,” witness Ed Coohill said.
Four people — two adults and two children — were on board. They were all taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with minor injuries, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.
A family friend of the pilot said he would be staying overnight and needs back surgery.
That same family friend confirmed the identity of the pilot as Jonas De Leon, who also teaches at a school in Washington Heights. He said an 11-year-old on board was De Leon’s son.
De Leon, who has 25 years of experience as a pilot, was just featured in a documentary for a program he runs educating students about aviation, CBS2’s Rozner reported.
Paramus Police said the pilot did a tremendous job landing the plane safely.
“He lost his one landing gear, but that’s because he hit kind of a bump where the tee-off is. If he didn’t hit that area then it would’ve probably would have coasted to a stop. So he did a very good job,” Sgt. Sean Nutland said. “We were lucky. When it comes to a plane crash, anytime you can walk away from it, it’s a good thing.”
The FAA is investigating.