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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Plane makes emergency landing on North Spokane Corridor, then takes off from highway

The North Spokane Corridor turned into a runway Saturday as a small airplane made a successful emergency landing before taking off hours later in the Hillyard Neighborhood.

The airplane ran out of fuel and the two men – an instructor and trainee – controlling the aircraft touched down at about 12:45 p.m. on the highway, about five blocks north of Wellesley Avenue, Washington State Patrol Sgt. Tod Surdam said.

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No injuries were reported.

Surdam said the plane’s second fuel tank was full, but the pilots failed to switch over to that tank.

Surdam said the pilots planned to land at Felts Field, where they took off, but they didn’t have enough altitude to glide to the airport. They found the safest, closest place to land – a paved straightaway between two Jersey barriers on the highway.

“Just glad they’re safe and everyone else is safe,” Surdam said. “That’s all that matters at the end of the day.”

Surdam said the plane landed in a construction area, but construction crews weren’t working in the area it landed. He said he was unsure whether cars were traveling on the highway when the plane landed.

“Luckily, they chose an area that there wasn’t any traffic on in the construction area,” Surdam said.

The highway was undamaged, according to Joe McHale, spokesman at the Washington State Department of Transportation.

After ensuring the plane was safe to fly and filled with fuel, the pilots used the highway as a runway and took off south, with its wheels coming off the ground at about 3:20 p.m. near Garland Avenue.

WSP and fire resources were at the scene standing by.

The highway was blocked for about three hours.

Surdam said the pilots won’t be charged and WSP’s investigation was complete.