18-Year-Old Pilot Forced to Make Emergency Landing, Lands in Traffic on Busy New Jersey Bridge

by Anna Dunn

New Jersey is known for its crazy traffic, but nothing could prepare drivers for a plane landing on a busy bridge. The pilot, 18-year-old Landon Lucas, made an emergency landing on a busy bridge in Ocean City, New Jersey. Lucas, who was in the plane alone, made the decision after the small single-engine banner plane experienced engine trouble.

Both the pilot of the Piper J3C-65 cub and drivers on the Ocean city causeway were thankfully unharmed in the incident. Lucas dropped the banner into the ocean before locating a place to land. The incident is now being investigated by the FAA and the NTSB. Witnesses report hearing the plane experienced some sort of engine trouble before its descent.

“I heard a loud boom,” one witness described to WPBI. “And obviously the propeller. It was just going lower and lower and it was really loud. And then I could only see it just drift down slowly.”

The pilot, who flies for Paramount Air Service, was attempting to reach Ocean City Municipal Airport before spotting a large gap in traffic on the bridge. He reported engine trouble as he was flying near steel pier in Atlantic City, and quickly made the decision to land safely on the road.

Police responded to the incident at 12:38 p.m. Monday.

Witnesses Praised Pilot for His Emergency Landing

For witnesses, a plane on the bridge, which is also frequently walked by pedestrians, is quite a sight.

“It looks like it was placed there purposely like it’s supposed to be there,” another witness described.

Crews had to remove the wings from the plane to effectively transport it and clear up traffic. It congested traffic leaving Ocean City, as the bridge connects Ocean City and Sommers point. The lanes have since been cleared, though there was a small accident as drivers looked at the plane.

“We rode up and couldn’t believe what we were seeing. It’s a really young pilot, and what an amazing job he did,” one witness said. “It’s incredible that he was able to pull this off.”

Another witness, Justin Dugary, praised the young pilot to Fox 29. Dugary is a pilot himself and witnessed the incident from his boat.

“It’s not easy. It’s really a challenge. I’m very proud of him. It’s really phenomenal that he was able to do this safely.” He added that the young pilot responded exactly how he should have in an emergency situation.

Witnesses could see the pilot standing by the plane right after landing. This isn’t the first time a banner plane has crashed in the region. In fact, there have been several crashes recently, some of which involve far more deadly ocean landings. Thankfully, the young pilot and all drivers and pedestrians are completely safe.