Pilot's incredible emergency landing on Minnesota highway caught on video: 'No one was injured'
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) also shared footage of the incredible landing on their page
An award-winning pilot, on Wednesday night, December 2, made a "textbook emergency landing" on a Minnesota interstate, with no injuries on the road or in the plane. The single-engine Bellanca Viking plane reportedly only hit one vehicle when it landed on the busy highway but no injuries were reported. Officials said that the landing caused part of the highway in the St. Paul suburb of Arden Hills to temporarily close down.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) also shared footage of the incredible landing on their Facebook page, showing the moment 52-year-old Craig Gifford miraculously landed the plane on 35W. The department, in the Facebook post, stated: "While this isn't *quite* what we mean by a 'multimodal transportation system,' we're glad no one was injured and are impressed by the pilot's effort to zipper merge from above." At least two people were reportedly on the plane during the time of the landing, and no injuries were reported on the aircraft either, according to KMSP-TV.
Gifford from Minneapolis is reportedly a competitive aerobatic pilot, which is a sport that involves flying aircraft in a series of maneuvers. The spokesperson for Experimental Aircraft Association, Dick Knapinski, in a statement, said that Giffor represented the United States in international competition in 2017 and 2019 on the Unlimited Aerobatic Team. He also reportedly won the bronze medal at the world championships in South Africa in 2017.
Knapinski added that pilots generally take aerobatic training lessons to learn how to better maneuver aircraft in emergency situations. He added that the lessons explain how the 52-year-old pilot on this case pulled off the "textbook emergency landing" on the interstate Wednesday night. He said: "Pilots are trained to deal with emergency engine problems and things like that if you have to make an emergency landing, and so the combination of that training and certainly (Gifford´s) aerobatic training really paid off in this situation."
Several people commented on the Minnesota Department of Transportation's emergency landing post on Facebook, with one user writing: "I’m not sure which is scarier, a plane landing on a highway at night, or cars and trucks “flying” down the highway at the same speed as an aircraft..." Another said: "Wow!! That was smooth! That guy merged better than most people! No traffic impediment at all!" A third wrote: "I have goosebumps watching this imagine what it would be like to see this happen in front of you or even behind you." Another remarked that it was great that no one was injured during the incident: "The one time driving the speed limit on the freeway resulted in a collision.. glad no one was hurt." While some had comments about Minnesota's drivers: "No way this really happened in MN. There's not a car in the fast lane refusing to move over."
Gifford declined to give a statement about the landing to the media and cited a current investigation into the incident by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation and Safety Board. It is not yet clear why he had to make the emergency landing.