As if the morning rush hour isn’t bad enough, commuters had to dodge a twin-engine aircraft as it made an emergency landing along Interstate 10 on Tuesday, August 31, around 8:15 a.m. Traffic snarled for hours after commuters dodged the plane on the crowded highway, according to an article on News4Jax.com. The pilot and his passenger walked away from the crash landing while a small amount of fuel leaked from the plane.
The problem with the 1957 Aero Commander plane began earlier that morning after it took off from Herlong. Soon afterward, the pilot reported losing one engine. He tried to return to the airport when the other engine went out. At that point, pilot William Montgomery, 47, of Jacksonville, was forced into an emergency landing on the westbound lanes of I-10 at mile marker 353, which is near the large Publix warehouse.
Upon landing the plane’s right wing hit several trees and sheared off. Neither the pilot nor passenger, 27-year-old Kacper Gradzki of Orange Park, was injured.
The plane was on its way to Craig Airport for radio maintenance when it went down. The National Transportation Safety Board is sending inspectors to Jacksonville to determine what went wrong.
Amazingly, the pilot managed to avoid hitting power lines and rear-ending any cars on crowded I-10. All that happened was that commuter rubberneckers jammed traffic as they slowed down to see the plane crashed on the side of the highway.
Jacksonville aviation accident attorneys are thankful that nobody was injured as airplane crashes usually have a much more tragic outcome.