LONGWOOD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A small plane made an emergency landing on Interstate 4, just north of Orlando, Florida on Friday afternoon. Officials worked through the evening, preparing to dismantle a Carbon Cub Light Sport SS plane and put in on the back of a trailer bed to be towed.
The plane lost power, according to Seminole County Fire Rescue, and the pilot had to bring the aircraft down near State Road 434 in Longwood.
“We have a quarter-of-a tank of gas, and she’s cutting in and out. I don't know if we're going to make it,” said the pilot, during air traffic control radio transmissions.
Kenneith Heitz, 48, radioed-in just minutes before touching down as I-4 became his runway for the small plane.
“My wife wanted to get off here, so we got off, and I looked and she says, 'There’s an airplane in the middle of the road!'” explained Andy Sciandre, a driver stuck in traffic.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the plane came down around 3:45 p.m. on eastbound lanes of the road, along a section of pavement that had recently been constructed in the median, as part of the I-4 Ultimate widening project.
Air traffic transmissions captured the pilot making the call to try and maneuver around traffic on the highway.
“Our engine has completely died, we're going to have to put it down right here on the side of the highway,” said the pilot to air traffic control.
FHP said the plane departed from Boca Raton and went to DeLand. It then left DeLand, bound for the Orlando Executive Airport, when it started having engine trouble. Amazingly, the pilot was able to safely land the plane in the narrow construction area in between the east and west bound lanes without any injuries or damage to the plane.
The landing caused massive traffic on I-4 in both directions, as drivers stopped to see it for themselves.
"I been stuck for the last couple miles up the road north of here,” Sciandre said.
The plane will be towed to Boyton Beach where the pilot is from.