2 injured after small plane makes emergency landing on Brooklyn Park highway, hits car
It was a very unusual, startling commute for Karl Alden, who was driving through Brooklyn Park heading to his job at Amazon.
A Tuesday morning like any other — until he saw a plane sliding to a landing, just across the street from his car.
“I just don’t see planes drop out of the sky that often,” Alden, from Fridley says. “I look over to my right and in my periphery, a plane is spat out of the ditch.”
He says he sat behind the wheel, transfixed, as the single-engine Piper slid onto County Road 81 before crashing into a Kia, just as it was driving by.
“Just as it hits the end of the intersection, it goes into the road,” Alden recalls. “It smacked that car in the passenger side, and that sent it turning in a complete circle.”
Emergency crews, responding to a call just after 10:30 am, arrived on the scene after the pilot, on a southeast heading toward Crystal Airport, radioed his aircraft was having a mechanical failure.
“Lost power, radioed an emergency, and had planned on landing in County Road 81,” Brooklyn Park Police Inspector Elliot Faust told reporters.
Authorities say there was no time to clear the roadway.
The pilot, flying parallel to the southbound lanes, struck several overhead powerlines, and then landed on the roadway before it collided with the Kia.
“The fact that he impacted one vehicle and was able to put the aircraft down, what you see is probably a testament to the skills of the pilot,” says Brooklyn Park Fire Chief Shawn Conway.
Police say the pilot, a 23-year-old man, was treated at the scene and that the Kia’s driver, a 32-year-old man, was transported with minor injuries.
Authorities complimented the pilot, who was flying solo, saying they’re grateful the injuries weren’t more serious.
“When an aircraft is coming down and trying to land, whether or not he was able to keep control of that aircraft, very difficult thing to do, I would imagine,” Conway explained.
Global Air, an aviation website, says the Piper plane involved in the crash can reach speeds of 151 miles per hour and normally needs about 600 feet to land safely.
The impact of the crash snapped off at least one landing gear, and the plane’s left wing ended up resting on the back of the Kia.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash.
For his part, Alden says this was one commute he will never forget.
“If I had taken just one earlier exit, I would have been on that road, but you know, strange, strange day,” he notes. “It makes as much sense as a boat hitting a car. You’re just not expecting to see that in any part of your day.”