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Small Plane Lands on East Anchorage Road; No Injuries

Published On: Jan 07 2014 01:20:08 PM AKST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 07:06:37 PM AKST

ANCHORAGE -

A small plane landed on a busy East Anchorage parkway Tuesday afternoon. No one was injured.

The single-engine aircraft landed on Bonfiace Parkway just south of the intersection with Perry Drive shortly after 1 p.m., according to police.

While the landing was initially reported as a crash, responding crews learned the plane lost power with three people on board just after taking off from Merrill Field.

APD Lt. Mark Thelen, who responded to the scene, said the pilot of the Cessna 172RG Cutlass attempted to make it to nearby Campbell Airstrip and then to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

That effort failed, and the pilot dropped onto Boniface for an emergency landing. The plane came to a rest on the snow-covered median, and neither the plane's passengers nor motorists were injured.

Arthur Racicot was one of three people on board the plane. He would not speak in detail because he said he still needed to provide his account of what happened to the National Transportation Safety Board.

But he said the plane was on a routine flight when it started running rough then lost power.

"With any high-stress situation that occurs, you always fall back on training," Racicot said. "You concentrate on what's going on. You don't see anything else. You focus on what's happening right there to get you out of the situation."

Inside lanes of traffic were initially closed, and northbound traffic was rerouted from Boniface to side streets as responders attempted to move the plane to a tow truck.

The Municipality of Anchorage recommended drivers find another way to get around Anchorage Tuesday afternoon.

"Well, this is a first," officials wrote on Twitter. "Avoid Boniface at Perry due to an...airplane in the road. Luckily, no injuries."

Merrill Field-based Land and Sea Aviation confirmed to KTUU the company owns the Cessna 172RG Cutlass involved in the incident.

The company provides training courses for pilots to learn how to fly small planes and also offers aircraft for rent.

Land and Sea would not immediately confirm the identity of the pilot or if a student was on board at the time of the crash.

Ryan Laman is a helicopter pilot who lives near the site of the crash.

"It's a great, great job of the pilot to make it between the (light) poles and not hitting cars on the way down," Laman said. 

Laman said the landing cannot be written off entirely to luck: "It's definitely a good amount of skill involved, and it always helps to have someone shining down for a little bit," he said.

Channel 2's Austin Baird and Corey Allen-Young contributed to this story.