by Winston Rogers & Jay Korff
LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (7News) — A plane with seven people on board made an emergency landing on Loudoun County Parkway roadway Friday, causing lane closures near Arcola Mills Drive.
The plane, identified as Southern Airways Express flight 246, made a hard landing in the DIREX lanes of Loudoun County Parkway, according to Virginia State Police (VSP). Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials confirmed the plane was a Cessna 208 Caravan that departed from Washington Dulles International Airport at around 12:15 p.m.
According to Washington Dulles International Airport officials, the plane landed at around 12:50 p.m.
As the plane was navigated around trees, power lines and traffic lights, Jesse Labell witnessed the amazing.
“I heard a loud noise thinking my car blew up or something. I look up and there’s a plane 20 feet above me and lands 30 feet in front of me,” said Labell. “My first thought is ‘this is insane. What’s going on, what the heck, what do I do?’ It landed, went under the traffic light, got squirrely over here and hit the guard rail.”
According to Virginia State Police at 3:40 p.m., the 27-year-old pilot from Florida was not injured, nor was his co-pilot and all five of the passengers. Four of the passengers were adults, and one was a 15-year-old boy, according to a statement.
“They landed across from the Wendy’s in ALDI approximately a mile and a half west of the departure runway,” a caller said in 7News obtained air traffic audio from LiveATC. net.
“They were pretty much in shock like what the heck just happened? This is crazy,” Labell explained.
Labell added that he’s glad road conditions were icy and wet because if he was driving the speed limit, the plane may have landed on top of him.
“Phenomenal landing in an emergency. Just unfortunate that he lost control at the end,” said Labell.
FAA records indicate the plane was owned by Southern Airways Pacific, LLC out of Palm Beach, Florida. Sources report the plane was heading to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Around 5:25 p.m., 7News was at the scene when emergency crews towed away the commercial plane from the scene.
See the full statement from Southern Airways CEO Stan Little below:
“We are relieved to report there were no injuries, and all passengers are safe and sound. We are thankful to our pilots, who did exactly what they were trained to do — to put the safety of our passengers first. We are working closely with the authorities to thoroughly investigate the situation, and we will take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of our passengers and our fleet.”
The FAA, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Loudoun County officials are investigating.