ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A plane that landed on Interstate 4 in Maitland is being removed from the highway. A crew from Lakeland was hired to haul it off on a flatbed truck a day after the emergency landing.
Logan Falise and his fiancée, Brittany Gage, said they saw the plane fall out of the sky and hit a car in front of them, as they were heading to church.
"I started running towards everyone," Gage said.
Falise said the front wheel of the plane hit the car. Once the plane landed, he said he helped the pilot get out of the aircraft, then called 911.
"Hopped up on the wing and started undoing the handle," he said. "The first thing I was like, 'You ok?" He's like, 'Yea, I'm ok. Where are we?' I was like, 'Maitland.' He was like, 'Where's that?' 'Orlando, Florida.'"
Maitland Police said a pilot named Angel Garcia was the one operating the plane. Gage said Garcia seemed very confused.
"I was like, 'You need to sit down, you have a gash on your head. You need to take it easy," she explained.
Falise said he also checked on the driver.
"He was just shocked. He was like, 'Honestly I thought I just got rear-ended, until I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a propeller and a wing!' And I'm like, 'Yea dude, this is crazy!'"
Falise said the driver doesn't want to comment until his insurance claim to fix his car is approved, but said he appeard to be ok.
"He was shaken up. He looked alright. He was holding his neck. I don't know if he was scared or hurt," Falise said. "That could have been incredibly bad. I definitely think God had a part in it."
Authorities said the plane was removed from I-4 ramp just after 6 p.m. on Friday.
Please don’t 🛑 or slow down if you drive on the Maitland Boulevard ramp to I-4 W and see this small plane on the side of the on-ramp. We’ve seen people pulling over to take pictures. Yes it’s unusual to see but it’s also dangerous & we want drivers to stay safe. 🚗 ✈️ pic.twitter.com/VI8YnbRbgW— Sydney Cameron (@SydneyFox35) May 17, 2019
The Florida Highway Patrol said the plane clipped a vehicle on the ground, as the pilot was landing. Remarkably, no serious injuries were reported.
The pilot reportedly told Maitland Police he ran out of fuel and was forced to make an emergency landing using an I-4 on-ramp as a runway just as rush hour was starting.
The pilot was flying from South Carolina and trying to make it to the Orlando Executive Airport.
According to the FAA database, the fixed wing, single-engine Piper aircraft was manufactured in 1965 and is registered to a Llod McKinney, of Gurley, Alabama.
The small plane that made an emergency landing on the Maitland Blvd ramp to I-4 W during rush hour yesterday is still here. It’s in the dirt though and the on-ramp is completely open. The FAA is investigating how this happened. pic.twitter.com/JGs04jOR4r— Sydney Cameron (@SydneyFox35) May 17, 2019
This is the second time in as many years that a small plane has had to make an emergency landing along I-4 in the Orlando-metropolitan area.
In November 2017, a Carbon Cub Light Sport SS aircraft lost power during a flight, according to Seminole County Fire Rescue, and the pilot had to bring the aircraft down near State Road 434 in Longwood. The pilot landed along a section of pavement that had recently been constructed in the median, as part of the I-4 Ultimate widening project. He did so without any injuries to himself or damage to the plane.