A small plane made a “spectacular landing” on the Highway 6 north of Salmo on Tuesday, according to a driver who witnessed the incident.
“The way he landed that plane, it was just incredible,” said Ed Baker who was driving from Ymir to Salmo at about 9 a.m.
Baker looked out his vehicle window and saw a plane flying beside him, just above the treetops.
“You could tell he was having problems because of how low he was,” Baker said. “He kind of veered off, and it looked like he was lining up to go down onto the road.”
Baker slowed down to try to get out of the way, then lost sight of the plane around a curve ahead.
“I knew he was going down, and I was concerned that when we get around that corner, that we would have to do a rescue of some kind.”
But when he regained sight of the plane, he saw it had landed safely.
“Really it was a fantastic landing. There was two power lines there that he had averted, and by the time we saw him he was taxiing down the highway.”
Markus Herzig also witnessed the incident. He was driving in front of the plane and saw it flying low in his rear view mirror, then lost sight of it.
He drove back and found the plane landed on the road. He and Baker helped the pilot push the plane off onto a driveway.
“The pilot said it was a full engine failure,” Herzig said. “He said he saw something fly out of the motor and slice his wing, and there was fluid everywhere. He said he was flying to Castlegar.”
A Salmo RCMP news release described the plane as a 1969 Lake Capithian single engine aircraft that had “suffered a catastrophic engine failure.”
The pilot was unharmed, and Navigation Canada was informed of the incident.
The RCMP did not identify the pilot in its news release, and neither Herzig nor Baker asked him his name.