‘Originally there were no options,’ says pilot who landed his plane on a North Carolina highway

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(CNN) – When the engine of his small plane failed three times, Vincent Fraser had no choice but to make an emergency landing in the mountainous region south of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In the GoPro video of its dangerous landing in West North Carolina, Fraser shows his single-engine plane maneuvering under a power line and in the center turn lane of the highway, with the car traveling in two lanes on either side.

Fraser, who was flying with his father-in-law, talked about his ordeal July 3 landing Monday morning on CNN’s “New Day.”

“The only thing running through my mind was that I needed to protect my father-in-law, and I needed to protect the people on the ground, and I was trying to do my best without harming anyone,” Fraser told CNN’s John Berman. Said Brianna to Keller.

They were on top of Lake Fanta when their first engine failed and Fraser saw no roads due to the trees and mountainous landscape.

“So originally there were no options,” Fraser said. At one point, he thought a bridge in the distance was his “best and only chance.” But they had too little to land on the bridge and there were too many vehicles on the bridge that could try without serious risk of hurting or hitting anyone, he explained.

So the next option was the river in front of the bridge, on which Fraser said that when he “miraculously, he’s committed to landing on the highway … only to my left because you haven’t seen him before. Mountains and valleys and trees.” “

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Fortunately, Fraser said he had enough altitude to turn the plane toward the highway at the last second.

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Video from Fraser’s GoPro camera shows him descending in the middle of the road as traffic passes on both sides of the aircraft.

“They were terrified,” Fraser said of the people on the ground.

Swan County Sheriff Curtis Cocker praised the landing in a Facebook post: “What an excellent job and no injuries. Amazing.”

“There were a lot of things that could have been catastrophic but it didn’t happen,” Kochner said.

A mechanic checked his plane and took him on a high, long road from the mountain, and three days later, he flew off the highway, Fraser said.

The takeoff was “terrible,” Fraser said, but he made it a maritime objective.

“I went back when I was in the Marine Corps and made it my mission to get down from the mountain. And so you know, I knew the plane was safe, I knew the plane was checked out, I knew I had training. Is. “Fraser said. But his nerves were raw.

“I honestly wanted to shut it down, get out, throw it up. You can’t believe this is really happening.”

But the takeoff was successful. Mission accomplished.

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