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Plane lands on highway during rush hour

Sept. 21, 2010 at 5:12 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- A pilot landed his small plane on an Atlanta interstate during rush hour without injuring anyone, authorities say.

Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration said Matthew Conway was flying his six-passenger 1996 Piper Saratoga to Peachtree-DeKalb Airport shortly before 5 p.m. Monday when the engine failed over Interstate 85, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday.

Bergen said the plane, which has a 40-foot wing span, clipped trees on its way down to the southbound lanes of the road, but Conway was able to avoid striking any other vehicles.

Authorities said I-85 traffic was blocked for about an hour.

William Smith, DeKalb County deputy fire chief, complimented the pilot's skills.

"At that point, you have about 30 seconds to make a decision ... . He probably saw 85 and went to land," Smith said. "My hat's off to the pilot. He did a good job landing that plane."

The FAA was investigating the cause of the engine failure.

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