A Minneapolis pilot safely emergency landed on a busy highway Wednesday night – and a traffic camera captured the extraordinary landing, showing the single-engine plane touching down between cars.
No one was injured in the crash landing, which happened around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday just outside of Minneapolis. The plane landed in the northbound lanes of Interstate 35W, the Minneapolis area's busiest highway, just south of Interstate 694. The plane collided with a car after landing.
Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic cameras show it all, as you can see in this video obtained by WCCO-TV.
New video into the @wcco newsroom shows the plane landing on 35W last night and colliding with a vehicle! The State Patrol reported no injuries. pic.twitter.com/tkabShah3J
— Guy Still (@mplstvguy) December 3, 2020
What triggered the emergency landing is unclear. The National Transportation and Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating the incident.
The pilot has been identified as Craig Gifford, a 52-year-old Minneapolis resident. Federal Aviation Administration records show that Gifford owns the plane involved in the incident, a Bellanca Viking.
And if the video isn't evidence enough, it seems Gifford is a skilled pilot. The U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Team lists Minneapolis resident Craig Gifford among its members, saying Gifford has flown more than 4,500 hours and has won several awards and contests for his acrobatic flying.
No matter the reason, Gifford deserves mountains of credit for safely landing a plane in the middle of a fairly busy highway. Without his skill and composure, this could have turned out much, much worse.