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Plane makes emergency landing on Illinois 47

Pilot credited with 'quick thinking,' nobody hurt

A single engine airplane made an emergency landing on Illinois 47 in Morris Saturday night.

Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District Chief Tracey Steffes said the plane's engine stalled and the pilot made a decision to land on Illinois 47.

The pilot was in Morris Municipal Airport's approach coming from the south to land to the north when the engine stalled. Whether it stalled due to mechanical or human error is still not known, Steffes said.

The pilot was aligned with the highway and there was no traffic, so he decided to land it on Illinois 47. It ended up just north of Saratoga School.

"It was quick thinking on the pilot's part. The road was clear and he would have been fine, but his right wing clipped a sign and it spun him into a ditch, where he hit a large bush that spun him the other way and he ended up in the field," said Steffes.

The pilot is from Colorado Springs and was in the area visiting family. There were three people in the plane. No one was injured.

"The pilot did a good job. Things could have been a lot worse," said the chief.

By the time emergency workers were on scene, it was getting dark, so the plane was taped off and left in the field overnight. There was no fuel leakage. The Grundy County Sheriff's Department was checking on the wreckage all night.

By 9:30 a.m. Sunday, the plane had been towed to Morris Municipal Airport for inspection by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Steffes said the FAA was taking the lead on the investigation and would do its inspection Tuesday. It then reports its findings to the NTSB.

The plane is not salvageable and the loss is estimated at $65,000, said Steffes.

There has been rumor the pilot was instructing his son, but Steffes said he did not know if the son had been flying the plane at all during the time of the incident and that the FAA would determine the order of events.

Morris police and Grundy County Sheriff's police were on scene with the Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District.

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