A skydiving school plane came within feet of striking unsuspecting motorists as it made a dramatic emergency landing on the main road to a Jersey Shore town.
The small aircraft from Skydive East Coast skydiving school in nearby West Creek landed safely in the median along Barnegat Road (New Jersey Route 72) near Main Street (U.S. Route 9) in Stafford Township, New Jersey shortly before 10:15 a.m. Sunday, said Stafford Township Police. The road is the main route to and from Long Beach Island.
On Tuesday, Stafford Township Police released video of the landing on the department's Facebook page. The video shows how close the plane came to crashing into cars traveling down the road -- landing just feet behind motorists and nearly clipping cars before coming to a rest in the grassy median.
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Shawn Maloney of Beach Haven, New Jersey, witnessed the landing.
"He hit the ground and bounced a couple times," he said. "Nice and easy and then hit the median in the grass and he went back and forth a little bit and just missed cars by a few feet maybe. And power lines too."
John Demming was driving along Route 72 with his daughter when they suddenly saw a ton of traffic.
"We initially thought it was heavy shore traffic but it was odd because it's such a nice day," said Demming. "We then saw fire trucks and police as we drove and then saw the airplane in the grass median and couldn't believe it. Definitely not something you see every day."
The single-engine, four-seater, white-and-blue aircraft was carrying five people, including students from Skydive East Coast, when it lost power forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing, said police. A skydiving instructor suffered a minor cut on his arm.
Officers closed the left lanes of traffic in both directions as they investigated the incident. After about 90 minutes, Stafford police tweeted a photo showing the fixed-wing Cessna -- with no visible damage -- pulled off the roadway and into a nearby parking lot.
The Federal Aviation Administration continues to investigate the incident.