SWANTON, Ohio (AP) — A state highway patrol officer checking traffic speeds on the Ohio Turnpike picked up an unusual vehicle — a single-engine plane making an emergency landing, authorities said.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the 1964-model Cessna 150 had an engine malfunction and was unable to make it to nearby Eugene F. Krantz Toledo Express Airport, touching down on the turnpike in Swanton Township just after 2 p.m. Friday, the Toledo Blade reported.
Patrol Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald from the Swanton post said at the scene that no one was injured and neither the plane nor the turnpike was damaged. He said the aircraft appeared on the highway patrol’s speed-enforcement laser and the trooper checking traffic speeds in a construction zone was there to assist after it touched down.
Several passing motorists also reported the incident, Fitzgerald said. The airport arranged for an aviation service crew to come out to tow the disabled aircraft into a nearby former service plaza. The pilot had maneuvered the craft into a closed lane in the work zone, minimizing traffic disruption, Fitzgerald said.
The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified and will be investigating, he said.
Adam Greenslade, the turnpike’s government-affairs and communications director, said he wasn’t aware of any prior aircraft landings in the turnpike’s 65-year history, and he believes such an event would have been mentioned in a history video recently made by the turnpike’s 1970-96 executive director, Allan Johnson.
He joked that while the small aircraft probably would qualify for the turnpike’s passenger-car toll rate because of its wheel configuration and low profile, the “definitely over-width” wingspan would have required a special permit.
“It could have certainly been a lot worse situation,” he said, acknowledging that the incident had provoked some mirth at turnpike headquarters. “Thankfully, with a lot of luck, some skill, and a bunch of trained professionals doing their jobs, we can have some fun with it.”