With no injuries, one official deems plane’s landing on I-470 ‘just short of a miracle’
By Dave D’Marko
LEE’S SUMMIT, MO — A metro freeway became a runway Tuesday afternoon when a pilot made an emergency landing on Interstate 470 in Lee’s Summit.
Officials say it was a close call and could have ended much worse.
According to flight records, the small plane was only in the air for 3 minutes after taking off from the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport.
The twin engine Bonanza suffered left engine failure and was trying to circle back to the airport — but the pilot quickly realized he couldn’t make it.
With dozens of businesses, hundreds of homes and even a hospital, it’s very populated just south of the airport where the plane was airborne. So the pilot decided to put the plane down right on I-470.
“My understanding is it was an imminent emergency,” Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Andy Bell said. “He had to make a decision now and for him to land on that section of roadway was his best option to potentially avoid some catastrophic collision elsewhere.”
Footage shot by one driver, seen in the video player above, shows the plane joining the flow of traffic near Douglas Street, coming to a stop right before the Douglas Road bridge.
“Anytime you can land any type of aircraft on a major interstate and you can come out with zero injuries and no real issues it’s just short of a miracle,” Bell said.
Police said this is the third time a plane has had to land on this stretch of highway near the airport for one reason or another.
Thankfully, though, this landing had the best outcome it could have, with the wing only clipping a highway sign post.
The interstate was blocked up for several hours while officials worked to remove the plane from the road and get it back to airport property.
The FAA will now investigate what led to the reported engine failure.