Plane Makes Emergency Landing on I-15

Plane Makes Emergency Landing on I-15


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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- A single-engine plane made an emergency landing on Interstate 15 just north of St. George after developing engine problems.

None of the Cessna 172's three occupants, returning to Cedar City from Mesquite, Nev., were injured and there was no damage to the plane.

The plane landed about 1 a.m. Monday, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Dene Kay said. The area was wide with no overhead wires, Kay said.

Cole Faddis, Troy Wadsworth and Cody Roundy, all employed by Professional Flight Instruction in Cedar City, were returning from a pleasure trip to Mesquite when the plane developed engine trouble.

Faddis, the pilot, said the plane lost one of its two magnetos, which provide power for the spark plugs.

"I just started going through the emergency drills I go over every day," said Faddis, 19, a flight instructor. "I switched to an emergency frequency and broadcast a mayday, saying we were going on I-15.

"I just waited for a break in the traffic and landed it on an incline," Faddis said. "The plane was all lit up so people could easily see us."

Marty Mathis was asleep at his Leeds home when he was awakened by the plane.

"It sounded like a bad lawnmower with its engine going out," he said. "It was hopping, cracking and popping.

From his window, Mathis saw the plane "floating along" about 50 or 100 feet above his house.

He called 911 as he watched the plane pass over the nearby hills. "I was praying for them the whole time, I thought they would crash for sure," Mathis said. "They had no power."

Responding officers drove along I-15 to slow oncoming traffic, while two sheriff's deputies, Kay and the three passengers pushed the plane to the median, Kay said.

The plane "was pretty light and it took only six of us to push it out of the way," he said.

Faddis said the incident did not dampen his enthusiasm for flying.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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