WEST BROWARD, FLA. (WSVN) – A small plane made an emergency landing on Alligator Alley in West Broward.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers responded to the scene along Interstate 75, near Route 27, at around 10:15 a.m., Wednesday.
The single-engine Cessna 210 aircraft landed near Mile Marker 25, just west of the toll plaza.
The plane took off from Jupiter and was headed to Key West when pilot David Olin, who has 1,000 hours of flying experience, said the aircraft experienced engine trouble. He tried to troubleshoot the issue, but the situation worsened.
Olin said he checked around for a nearby airport to land, but it was too far away, so he landed the plane on I-75. No vehicles were impacted during the landing because Olin landed during a break in traffic.
“It just all of the sudden started to run rough,” Olin said. “The engine just cut out of nowhere. Checked the fuel, checked the fuel pumps, checked the tanks, checked everything we could and no matter what we tried, it was just worse and worse. As we lost altitude, we figured out there’s no other choice but to land on I-75. This was pretty much as expected — best possible outcome.”
Olin and another passenger were on board the plane and were not injured in the emergency landing. He then pulled into the median to avoid blocking traffic.
7SkyForce hovered over the scene where the aircraft could be seen after it was moved to the side of the roadway.
FHP officials praised Olin for the way he handled the emergency.
“He descended rapidly to 2,500 feet, and the pilot did an outstanding job landing the airplane on the side of the road southbound on I-75 on Alligator Alley,” FHP Lt. Yanko Reyes said.
Olin said although it was a pretty scary situation, he was pretty well prepared for it.
“I used to race professional superbikes my whole life, so adrenaline, nerves, things like that don’t really bother me,” Olin said. “We’re trained. I had a great ex-military pilot that taught me, this actually happened to him twice, so this was part of the training. ‘BOOM’ — your engine’s out, what do you do? That was pretty much a daily thing, so this was pretty much as expected.”
The plane has since been towed from the roadway, and traffic was only stopped when officials were removing the plane.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.
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