The pilot of a small, single-engine plane made a stunning emergency landing on a busy Long Island highway on Wednesday afternoon, dodging motorists and a road sign, then gliding under an overpass and coming to a stop.
Cellphone video, recorded from inside a moving vehicle, shows the plane touching down in the fast lane on Sunrise Highway in Yaphank, not far from the Hamptons. “Holy s‑‑‑! Holy s‑‑‑!” someone is heard shouting off-camera. “That’s unbelievable! Awesome.”
The plane pulls slightly to the left before the pilot straightens it out, avoiding several cars on the roadway. It then stops on the shoulder, kicking up a cloud of dust and dirt.
“It wasn’t good, but here I am. No bent metal,” the pilot, identified by local news media as Jim O’Donnell, told WABC.
O’Donnell could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday morning.
Suffolk County Assistant Police Commissioner Justin Meyers told The Washington Post that the pilot, who was flying a single-engine Cessna 206, landed the aircraft about 1 p.m. on the westbound side of Sunrise Highway at exit 57. He was the only person onboard and was not injured in the incident, police said.
“All things considered, he did a pretty good job landing it where he did,” Meyers said. He said the maneuver under the overpass was “very close.”
“By the nature of emergency landings, you don’t get to pick your spot,” he said, adding that O’Donnell “was pretty fortunate he was able to get his bird on the ground. Another few feet and it could have been a very different situation.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said it is handling the investigation.