Plane makes emergency landing on busy, snowy road in Alaska

Dylan Stableford
Pilot lands plane on Alaskan highway
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Authorities survey the damaged plane following an emergency landing on a busy Alaskan parkway, Jan. 7, 2014. (Erik Hill/Anchorage Daily News)

The pilot of a small plane made a remarkable emergency landing on a busy, snowy Anchorage, Alaska, road Tuesday.

Armon Tabrizi, a 27-year-old pilot and flight instructor, told the Anchorage Daily News that the plane, a Land and Sea Aviation Cessna 172RG Cutlass, was losing power during a routine maintenance flight early Tuesday afternoon.

Tabrizi waited for a break in traffic and then calmly landed in the middle of Boniface Parkway in East Anchorage, somehow avoiding stoplights and cars. The pilot and his two passengers then stepped out of the plane onto the median. No one was injured.

"The engine never quit, but we lost enough power and were unable to maintain flight," Tabrizi told the newspaper. "I'm just glad everybody is fine."

Traffic on the four-lane parkway was briefly diverted so a tow truck could hook up the single-engine plane and take it back to the flight school.

"I noticed it coming over the top of my car, from the back side," Meredith Hazen, a witness, told the paper. "It took me a second to realize, 'He's not flying that low on purpose.' I could see the belly of the plane out my windshield."

Plane landings in strange circumstances are relatively common in the largest U.S. state, and in the city of Anchorage, a lake even serves as a small-plane airport. But this is the second time in a week a U.S. plane has been forced to make an emergency landing on a busy roadway. On Saturday, a single-engine Piper Cherokee landed on New York City's Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx. Three people, including the pilot, walked away with minor injuries.

That plane was on its way back to Danbury, Conn., when it experienced engine trouble after flying around the Statue of Liberty.