THIS WAS the scene after a crash landing yesterday by one of America’s unluckiest pilots.
Danny Hall, 48, was in his Cessna Skylane light aircraft over the US state of Connecticut when he realised a technical fault was about to bring his flight to an abrupt end. “It just started to gradually lose power,” he said. “It started to go down – I couldn’t get the power back.”
Realising he would not reach the airport, Hall looked for a safe place to bring the plane down. He spotted a long, deserted stretch of road in Hartford, the capital of Connecticut – a bus lane still under construction, with a concrete barrier and a high fence.
The road was free of traffic but the amateur pilot was far from confident he could make the landing safely. He contacted the aircraft control tower with the message: “If I don’t make it, tell my kids I love them.”
The crash ripped off the right wing, leaving it 100 yards from the the fuselage, which ended up with its nose touching the barrier at the side of the road and its tail in the air.
This was not Hall’s first accident. In 2008 he was forced to ditch his plane in a river after a similar loss of power while flying over Rhode Island. Investigators on that occasion found the cause of the power failure to be a nest of mice in the engine bay.
Federal investigators are looking into the latest incident, which may mean Mr Hall’s flying days are over. “I got lucky,” he said, adding that he has consulted his family on whether to give up. “My daughter, who is 11, said don’t do it again. My son, who is nine, said he wants to go with me next time.”