BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A small plane landed on U.S. 27 Wednesday afternoon in western Broward County.
The plane landed in the highway’s southbound lanes near the Twentysix Mile Bend, about five miles north of Interstate 75.
Ridwan Chowdry was in the cockpit as a student pilot. He and his instructor had just taken off from North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines headed to Pahokee near Lake Okechobee when trouble hit at 2,000 feet.
“We were feeling the engine roughness and we saw the smoke so we made a decision to make a landing because there was no power,” Chowdry said.
Any hope of making a safe return to their departure airport was dashed when the engine failed.
“We always train for this emergency situation all the time so it was kind of normal to us and he took the controls,” Chowdry said.
The plane made an emergency landing in the southbound lanes of US-27 near Mile Marker 39 during a lucky break in traffic late Wednesday afternoon.
Images from Sky 10 from around 3:15 p.m. showed two occupants out of the Cessna 172P, which was intact and near the highway’s shoulder.
“I didn’t think we could make it, so that is why I decided to land on US-27 instead of North Perry, said pilot instructor Kwangsak Jang.
Investigators, including a team from the FAA, were on site inspecting the aircraft, which appeared to be unscathed.
Traffic was reduced to one lane.
The plane is from Pelican Flight Training school based at North Perry Airport.
“We believe that something gave way in the oil system,” said Tom Olsen with Pelican Flight Training. “We just put a brand new overhauled engine in it yesterday.”
Representatives for Pelican Flight Training who rushed over to the scene said their team followed all protocols to a T.
“It’s a wonderful outcome at least up to this point,” Olsen said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen to the airplane from here, but we are grateful they were trained and able and do what they were supposed to do.”
Added Jang: “I hope this is the first, and at the same time, last time for my aviation life.”
Records show the plane, manufactured in 1986, was registered to Fixed Wing Holding Co. Inc. out of Pembroke Pines.
State records show the company is associated with Pelican Flight Training.
No injuries were reported, according to Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue.