Swain County Sheriff’s Office has released dash cam footage from a two-seater plane that made an emergency landing on an in-use highway earlier this week.
In the video, which was shared on Facebook, the viewer can see two cars heading in the same direction as the plane, incredibly close below. One car appears to speed up, while the other slows down.
On the other side of the road, multiple cars speed by.
The landing is smooth and expertly done though terrifyingly close to the car right underneath the plane. After landing, the plane appears to head into oncoming traffic. Some cars speed past, while others swerve out of the way. The pilot manages to steer the plane towards the right side of the road, slowing to a stop by a grassy bank.
Who was flying the plane?
The pilot of the plane was Vince Fraser, who was flying with his father-in-law. The single-engine plane was supposed to take them over the forests of the southern Appalachian mountains in Swain county.
What happened to the plane to require the emergency landing?
After less than 100 hours of flight time, the plane’s engine just … cut out. Fraser attempted to restart the engine three separate times but to no avail. On the third time, the engine would not turn back on.
Right!? Holy smokes. Incoming traffic must’ve shat themselves ?— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) July 8, 2022
To emphasize the danger Fraser and his father-in-law were in at this point, listen to this quote from Fraser delivered to WSPA, a local news station:
‘I looked at him [his father-in-law] and I told him I was sorry, and that I loved him. From there on out, it’s just a commitment. Let’s see what’s going to happen. Let’s do this the best we can.’
How did Fraser manage the landing?
Faced with the very real possibility of death, Fraser started to look for places to do an emergency landing. However, above the densely forested areas by the southern end of the Appalachian mountains, his options were limited.
His first thought was to aim for a bridge, but, upon flying closer to it, Fraser spotted pedestrians on the bridge: no-go.
Next, he considered a water landing. There was a river nearby which would have suited. But, as he descended towards the river, he spotted the highway, which had before been obscured by the trees.
The landing was hard: there were cars using the highway, and Fraser had to be careful to fly under the power lines. By some miracle, he managed it without any injuries.
At what point do you stop driving when you notice that there’s a plane trying to land besides you?— DisgruntledMetsFan (@CleonA84126672) July 8, 2022
The authorities arrived within minutes. They were shocked to find no injuries, writing later in the Facebook post: ‘There were so many things that could have been catastrophic but they didn’t happen.’
Later on, a mechanic noted that the engine had failed because there was a blockage in a fuel line, creating a fuel shortage.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get on a plane now. First a Florida plane has to be landed by a passenger with no flying experience after the pilot passes out, and now this!