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Pilot Makes Emergency Landing Along I-80, No One Hurt

Dec 5, 2020, 8:47 PM | Updated: Jul 12, 2023, 5:31 pm

PARK CITY, Utah — A small plane carrying two passengers made an emergency landing on Interstate 80, near the Jeremy Ranch exit, but luckily, no one was injured.

The incident happened in Park City Saturday night.

“The pilot of the aircraft was able to navigate traffic, find an opening on the eastbound traffic lanes and successfully land it with a disabled engine,” said Utah State Trooper Alex Agin. 

The pilot of the Cessna 172, Jackson Walker, said they were flying from Idaho Falls to Provo when the oil pressure dropped to almost zero. Then, the engine seized and stopped.

“You try to go through procedure and stick with procedure and keep a clear head,” he said.

After trying to restart it several times, Walker said he decided to make an emergency landing on I-80.

“Just said a quick prayer,” said Walker. “I flashed my landing lights to let traffic know that I was going to be landing.”

Walker said a good samaritan driving along I-80 started swerving to slow down traffic so he could have room to land.

“What are the chances of that man on the ground being a pilot, or whoever he was, doing what he did to slow the traffic down?” said Robyn Smith-Sisam who pulled over to see the plane on Sunday. “Just something way cool.”

UHP Lt. Colton Freckleton said they did not sustain any injuries, and the plane was not damaged during the landing.

“Just wanted to get home and make sure my passenger got home to his baby,” said Walker.

“Best-case scenario,” said Agin. 

After the plane landed, the two passengers got out and pushed the aircraft into the shoulder of the highway.

“That’s something you don’t see everyday,” said neighbor Seth Eisman.

The next day, people pulled over on the side of the road to take pictures of the plane.

“It’s really cool that the plane is right here, right in front of our neighborhood,” said a little girl. “I was wondering what was going on last night.”

“He could’ve crashed into any of these neighborhoods,” said Eisman.

The cause of the plane’s engine failure remains unclear.

Utah Highway Patrol said they were giving the pilot some cushion time to get the plane off the side of the road on Sunday, but that he was not allowed to take off from I-80.

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Pilot Makes Emergency Landing Along I-80, No One Hurt