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Small Plane Passengers Survive Fiery Interstate Highway Wreck

A single-engine plane stunned drivers in North Carolina last night when it was forced to land on an interstate highway. The aircraft’s pilot made a distress call to Asheville Regional Airport regarding an engine failure before their Diamond DA-40 crashed onto I-26 and burst into flames. NBC News reported that reported that two occupants were aboard the aircraft. The pilot and passenger were transported to the hospital without any life-threatening injuries.

FAA: Plane crash reported on I-26 near Asheville Regional Airport, two people on board

Unsurprisingly, the highway was closed to clear the wreckage and repair three damaged power lines. Over 7,000 households lost power for 30 minutes when the crash happened, but electricity was restored to all customers even as repairs were ongoing.

I-26’s eastbound lanes were reopened this morning, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports. However, one of the westbound lanes will remain closed until further notice. NCDOT spokesperson Jen Godwin told the newspaper, “The reason for [the lane closure] is there was some pavement that was damaged from the crash, so they’ve got some crews out there with a milling machine. They are trying to mill up the damaged pavement and backfill it with some new material.”

In a preliminary report, the Federal Aviation Administration stated that the pilot declared a mayday as the engine failed and the cockpit filled with smoke. While highways tend to be straight and flat, they are terrible places to attempt an emergency landing. The stretches of pavement are rarely ever completely car-free, and there are also other stationary obstacles like signage gantries and trees. However, any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.


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